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DATE

News (chronologically)

2/27/04

Infiniti Pro speeds from Homestead  

1. Arie Luyendyk Jr., Active Intl/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, D/I/F, 188.818
2. Paul Dana, Ethanol/Hemelgarn Johnson, D/I/F, 188.357
3. Thiago Medeiros, Sam Schmidt Motorsports, D/I/F, 187.929
4. Marty Roth, Roth Racing, D/I/F, 187.919
5. Phil Giebler, Western Union Speed Team, D/I/F, 187.919

PHIL GIEBLER (No. 2 Western Union Speed Team Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "It's a learning experience, for sure. We're trying a lot of different setups on the car. For me, it's a different way of trying to feel what the car is doing. We're just learning, little by little. As a driver, you're looking for different lines and different ways to get the speed. We're just trying to get the car as free as possible and running as fast down the straight so we can run with these guys tomorrow. There's not much pressure. I always want to do my best no matter what I'm doing, whether it's a test or race. It doesn't really matter what kind of car it is, I just want to do my best."

ARIE LUYENDYK JR. (No. 5 Active Intl/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We were working with Thiago (Medeiros, teammate) this session to see how our cars would feel in the draft. I'd run out front with him following pretty close for a few laps, then he'd run in front of me. He was a bit faster towing me, so during the last part of the practice we worked on my car alone and got it going a bit quicker. We should be in good shape for tomorrow and qualifying." (About being fastest): "It never feels bad, but you have to take it in context as most of those quick times were with tows."

MARTY ROTH (No. 4 Roth Racing Dallara/Infiniti Firestone): "We had a great day, did a lot of changes, and we brought the car a long way. There's still a lot of time on the track tomorrow, but right now we're really happy with the way we ended it. I love Homestead. What they've done to the track is great. It's a windy place traditionally. A little wind makes it interesting."

THIAGO MEDEIROS (No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti Firestone): "In the first session, we were working on setting up the car for qualifying, getting a baseline setup. In the afternoon, we started to work on the race day setup, but I had a gear problem and I couldn't get a good tow. I was missing my fourth and fifth gears, so I was a bit worried about the gearbox, but I still feel comfortable about tomorrow. My teammate Arie (Luyendyk Jr.) was able to draft off me, and I did my best even though I didn't have the right gears. Tomorrow's a new day. This is motor racing. Everything changes. I'm confident about qualifying. We have another practice tomorrow, and I think I'll have a very strong car. I learned a lot of things about ovals last year, and I'm still able to learn something new every day. You have to do your best every time. I know the car very well, and I know how far I can go to push the car to the limit. I know the car better, and I know how to make the changes.

2/27/04

Ganassi Toyota on pole for 2nd race in row  For the second time in as many races, CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates finds itself on pole for Saturday’s Grand Prix of Miami, a three hour race with a field of 43 entries on the new 2.3-mile Homestead Miami Speedway road course.   The fledging team took to the track for the 15 minute Daytona Prototype qualifying session Friday afternoon with Scott Pruett (partnered with Max Papis) at the wheel of the #01 Lexus Riley and the newly added #02 car driven by Jimmy Morales (partnered with Luis Diaz).

It was veteran driver Scott Pruett who, for a second consecutive race, put the #01 Lexus Riley on pole with a time of 1 minute, 13.375 seconds with a speed of 112.845 miles per hour.  “It is really something to be able to put the #01 Lexus Riley on pole twice in a row.” said Pruett amid handshakes from team members. “It’s just a testiment to how hard everyone has worked to put this program together. In a race like this, the pole may not always have much consequence but it certainly goes a long way to help the team’s confidence.”

Jimmy Morales, despite some technical glitches during practice and qualifying was able to put the team’s second car in the fifth spot on the grid with a time of 1 minute, 14.811 seconds. “Luis and I were third quickest in this morning’s practice session despite some slight difficulties but I just couldn’t get all the pieces to come together in qualifying.” said Morales who remained upbeat about the chances in Saturday’s race. “The team literally put this car together this week so we’re still ironing out a few kinks. Right now, we’re looking for a bit more consistency than speed. I know that we’ll be able to work with the engineers and Max and Scott and it isn’t unreasonable for Luis and I to aim for a top 5 finish in the race.”

Pruett echoed his teammate’s sentiments. ”In practice it is difficult to know how good the car really is with all the traffic that a 43 car field can generate. However, with just the prototypes out there for 15 minutes of qualifying we finally got a good look at the results of all the work we put in to develop the #01 car. We’re happy with the road we’re on and CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates is hoping to take it a step further with a good result this weekend.”  Grand American Rolex Series racing fans can follow the CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team’s progress throughout the race weekend at the Grand Prix of Miami by logging on to the GrandAmerican.com website for free Zippo live timing results. They can also watch the tape delayed race on SPEED next Sunday, March 7th at 4 p.m. (ET).

2/27/04

Senna funeral photos   This link will take you to a website of photos of Ayrton Senna's funeral in Brazil 10 years ago this year.  He certainly was a hero to a lot of people in Brazil, much like Dale Earnhardt was in the USA.  Here is a more complete page of links.

2/27/04

Honda has to buy media coverage for the IRL in Japan  The Miami Herald reports that the IRL had scant coverage from the island nation of Japan until last year, when Japanese car manufacturers Honda and Toyota made the switch from CART to the IRL. More than 30 journalists, photographers and broadcasters from Japan will attend the Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead this weekend. The figure jumps to more than 50 for the Indianapolis 500, according to an IRL spokesperson. A large contingent of journalists are guests of Honda, which pays for their expenses in hopes of getting good publicity.  Seems like a conflict of interest to us, but perhaps that is how things are done in Japan.

2/27/04

Dixon fastest in morning practice  Defending Toyota Indy 300 champion Scott Dixon is getting accustomed to the reconfigured Homestead-Miami Speedway.  Dixon, the 2003 IRL IndyCar Series champion, had the quickest lap of the morning practice Feb. 27 in preparation for the race on Feb. 29. Dixon toured the 1.5-mile oval in his Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone in 24.6874 seconds (216.460 mph).  His quick lap was more than 12 mph faster than Tony Kanaan’s pole-winning speed last year. The track was repaved and revamped to include banking of 18 degrees at the bottom, 19 degrees in the middle and 20 degrees at the top of the turns.  Bryan Herta (24.7406; 216.082 mph) was second quick and Kanaan (24.8107; 215.472 mph) third. Two practice sessions will be held this afternoon, with qualifying Feb. 28

2/27/04

Jeff Green has lucky car for Vegas   Driver Jeff Green knows a few extra breaks here and there would sure come in handy when the NASCAR Nextel Cup series reaches the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway next week. “If there’s any place that a little extra luck could make the difference, it’s Las Vegas,” the Owensboro, Ky., native said. “There couldn’t be a better place for us to run the Lucky Charms Dodge and we’re hoping it’ll give us the edge we’re looking for on the track.”

Green will drive the #43 Lucky Charms Dodge throughout the Las Vegas weekend for Petty Enterprises. Lucky Charms is among the popular cereal brands made by the 43 car’s primary sponsor General Mills. “Maybe this will give us a little extra advantage,” he laughed. “All I know is that winning at Las Vegas would, for sure, be "magically delicious.’”

Prominently featuring Lucky the Leprechaun on the hood, sides and rear, the Sam Bass-designed Lucky Charms Dodge has a red background with Lucky Charms rainbow colors as accents. The design also showcases the cereal’s famed marshmallows and trademark rainbow. “Having some of the Lucky Charms luck rub off on us would be great, and having Lucky the Leprechaun on the car close to St. Patrick’s Day can’t hurt either,” Green laughed. “This #43 team has been moving forward this season,” Green said. “We’ve seen some pretty good moments at Daytona and Rockingham, and we think we‘re going to be pretty good at Las Vegas.

2/27/04

Sports Medicine firm celebrates 20th year  When followers of motorsport discuss safety teams in racing, most of the glory goes to the quick-response paramedic types that dash into the aftermath of an accident and rescue those in peril, or to the emergency physicians that can save an injured competitor.

Those are obviously key parts of any racing series and those professionals that serve on the Champ Car Safety Team are widely regarded as some of the best in the business. It is those professionals that played a key part in Champ Car’s stellar medical record last year, helping to fashion the best record of any racing series in North America in terms of injuries and races missed.

However, those sports medicine and physical therapy professionals that serve on the Champ Car Safety Team are every bit as vital to the success of the series. In fact, the sports medicine and physical therapy arm of the team contributed mightily to the fact that Tiago Monteiro’s pre-race accident that caused him to miss the Cleveland Grand Prix was the only incident all year in which a Champ Car driver had to miss a start because of injury.

“I think these guys are a critical part of the care we give at the race track” said Champ Car Medical Director Dr. Chris Pinderski. “Our primary goal is to keep the drivers in the race cars and the sports med and therapy guys play a key role in that.”

Don Andrews and the Motor Sports Medicine Group that begin their 20th year as members of the Champ Car Safety Team are responsible for helping minor injuries remain minor, using immediate care, resources and training to ensure that drivers are ready when the green flag flies.

“We can do much in the first hour after an incident to keep them able to compete at the level you need to in our series,” Andrews said. “With our staff at the track, we are able to provide the same type of medical care that NFL and NBA teams have. We’ve developed protocol and procedures to help our athletes – and they are athletes – recover quicker and be able to continue racing.”

The sports medicine and physical therapy arm started with the safety team in 1985, with Andrews coming from the NHL’s New York Islanders. Other members of the current staff have served with NFL and NHL squads and have incorporated experiences from other sports that help them treat Champ Car drivers.

“We adapt a lot of what we learned in other sports to racing, but we have made modifications to help our guys,” Andrews said. “For instance you can’t tape a driver’s wrist the same way that you would for an offensive lineman. These are the kinds of things that we have changed and improved upon to help the drivers.”

2/27/04

Time is right for IRL to make gains  With it's TV ratings plummeting in 2003 (to lower levels than CART on network TV) it remains to be seen whether the IRL can turn around their trend of three straight years of a downward spiral.  This weekend there is no NASCAR race to contend with on TV, which is rare, so if they are going to get any decent rating this year, now is the time.  This Miami Herald article talks about this issue.  Not to throw cold water on the fire, but last year the IRL got their highest TV rating outside of the Indy 500 for Homestead, a 1.8 on ABC.  With no CART or NASCAR race to contend with this weekend, we don't hold much hope for the failing series and predict the race will be lucky to break 1.0 this year on ESPN.....and so the downward spiral will probably continue.

2/27/04

The road to Indy goes through CART  It's all too funny that the USAC short trackers still wear their Road to Indy hats.  Clearly the Road to Indy is through CART and road racing experience, the best training ground for any driver.   This LA Times article says, Remember when Tony George said he was starting his Indy Racing League to give young Americans a chance to become big-time race car drivers? When he decried the influence of major engine manufacturers in the CART series? When he scraped together remnants of teams with drivers named Buzz Calkins, Jim Guthrie, Mark Dismore and Buddy Lazier to run the 1996 Indianapolis 500?

Well, the 2004 IRL IndyCar season starts Sunday in Homestead-Miami with the Toyota Indy 300, and look at what has happened since then:
• There are only 19 entries for the race and 11 of them are foreign drivers.
• Honda has a potent lineup of four teams and seven drivers, including four entered by Michael Andretti, once the pride of CART. Toyota has seven cars, with teams headed by Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi, once two of the strongest forces in CART. General Motors, which carried the IRL through its growing pains, has only five Chevrolet-powered cars. One is for rookie Ed Carpenter, George's stepson.
• Calkins, Guthrie, Dismore and Lazier, who won the 1996 Indy 500, and most of the other old IRL drivers are gone to make room for the exodus from CART. Ten of Sunday's 19 entries are former CART drivers.

All of which makes it confusing when so many CART devotees write scathing letters to the editor about how terrible the IRL is, when in essence, the IRL today is the CART of yesterday. And what is CART now? It is the OWRS, for Open Wheel Racing Series, and the mystery of who is left, besides Paul Tracy, Adrian Fernandez and Bruno Junquiera, will become known when the new organization holds its coming out party March 8-9 in Long Beach.

2/27/04

Lexmark renews Champ Car race sponsorship deal  The Lexmark Indy 300 has celebrated several milestones and records over its 14-year history. Another significant occasion that guaranteed the event's future one year ago was celebrated today.   In early 2003, Lexmark was announced by Queensland Premier Peter Beattie as the new naming rights sponsor of Indy on the Gold Coast in a four-year multi-million dollar agreement.  The sponsorship provided a key financial and marketing injection that has set the course for the event's future through to at least 2006. It has also proved to be an integral sponsorship for the Lexmark brand in the Asia Pacific region.   More.....

2/27/04
IROC

IROC tests at TMS  Race teams testing at Texas Motor Speedway are usually in search of additional speed. Parity and equality took precedence over speed Thursday as the Crown Royal International Race of Champions machines took to Texas Motor Speedway for the first time in preparation for the April 2 inaugural event. Crown Royal IROC test drivers Dave Marcis, Jim and Jay Sauter wheeled a trio of the series machines around “The Great American Speedway” seeking setups that will be used in the April 2 race. The identically prepared stock cars will be driven by 12 of the world’s leading drivers in the series’ Texas debut. “So far in the first day of testing, I’m happy with the cars,” said Marcis, a former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series regular and long-time IROC tester. “I have been to Texas before, I like this race track, always did quite well here. Jim and Jay Sauter are both here working on the cars, our goal today is to change shocks, change springs and keep working on the chassis to where we are comfortable.” Individual tickets to the Crown Royal IROC Series 100 will go on sale Monday, March 1 at the speedway ticket office, by calling (817) 215-8500, online at www.texasmotorspeedway.com and at Ticketmaster locations. A special advance purchase ticket price of $35 is being offered for the inaugural event. Also included in the evening’s racing will be a 100-mile race for the ROMCO Super Late Model Series. Season ticket holders will receive free tickets to the April 2 doubleheader. Season tickets for 2004 are still available and include frontstretch seating for six major races at Texas Motor Speedway including the April 4 Samsung/RadioShack 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event.  TMS PR

2/27/04
Formula Renault

Guyons Performance secures Formula Renault contract  After wrapping up the final details from the North American Formula Renault Winter Invitational, which saw drivers from fifteen countries battle for an astounding prize package worth over $150,000, and the successful North American debut of the Formula Renault V6, RaceTeam Promotions has begun preparations for the upcoming North American Formula Renault Championships.

RaceTeam Promotions announced today that Guyons Performance Centers will be the official supply and service provider for the North American Formula Renault Championships, serving as the exclusive parts supplier for North American Formula Renault and providing on-event support including all tire supply and service, as well as shock dyno support.

Guyons is based in Calgary, Alberta, and has locations in Las Vegas, Nevada, as well as Portland, Oregon, with a Toronto location scheduled to open soon. Guyons provides a myriad of services for racers and auto enthusiasts alike, from building race engines to fabrication, as well as serving as a key parts supplier.

Guyons will be bring a dedicated technical staff to every North American Formula Renault event to provide insight and information beyond just parts supply to provide the drivers and teams in the North American Formula Renault Championships everything they need to mount a competitive effort. Guyons is involved with nearly every segment of motorsports, including karting, sports cars, Legends, rallying, drag racing, and off-road, and is well known as "Canada's most complete racing source." Guyons is also an authorized North American track side distributor for the HANS device. Guyons recently won several awards at the 38th Annual World of Wheels show in Calgary, Alberta, including "Best Competition Car" for its CASCAR Chrysler entry.

2/27/04

Patrick Racing gives up on IRL plans  Pat Patrick has called off his planned Indy Racing League program because he has not been able to raise the finance needed for the program. The team was informed of the decision on Wednesday. Patrick had been hoping to put together a program involving veteran driver Al Unser Jr but it seems that the Unser name was not a big enough draw to enable Patrick to find the money needed in the time available.  Patrick also has been linked to the Indy 500 effort Robby Gordon is coordinating. The NASCAR Nextel Cup driver has confirmed his commitment to return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May, but he has not named a team.  Gordon told friends at the Daytona 500 he'd like to do the program himself with financial backing from Meijer and others, but he also might work through Patrick.  "There's been no communication there (between us) for two weeks now, so I have to assume Robby has another deal," Newey said.

2/27/04

What can Ron Dennis learn from NASCAR?  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Following up on your reply on NASCAR that they have done a lot of things right to deserve their increased popularity. Since I work at a Mercedes-Benz dealership, most of the motor sports talk revolves around F1. I read your response to my buddies at work today so we tried to remove our emotions and come up with three things NASCAR has added, or changed in the last five years that would account toward their increased popularity. Please don't assume we are anti-NASCAR. We are for all motor sports, but we appreciate real racing, like Champ Cars more so than others. We only detest Tony George, and the sellouts in his league. Anyway, back to our "round table discussion" of why NASCAR has earned their recent popularity. First, the drivers. For the same reason pro wrestling characters are important to their fans, it seems the same is true for NASCAR drivers and their fans. It's not about the car they drive or even their teams. If the drivers switch teams, the fans follow the drivers. As you have pointed out before, the majority of the F1 fans follow their teams. Still, we don't believe NASCAR has done anything in the past five years or so to be able to claim credit for this phenomenon. Next up was NASCAR's dumbing down of their cars to promote closer racing. Restrictor plates, and common body templates might be the two best examples of this factor. This was so sad of an example that we refused to qualify them for our discussion. Finally, night time racing under the lights. I have to admit, watching the Cleveland Champ Car race last year was damn exciting. However, how much of our emotions were due to the fact that this was just new to us, not really better? The jury is out on this one.   So, we're left with that. Really nothing that we could think of that Ron Dennis is going to take back with him to McLaren from NASCAR. That's like saying Eric Clapton is coming to the U.S. to catch a Britney Spears concert to see why the American public and media thinks she deserves to be so popular. Can't and shouldn't be done. We respect you and want to hear your justification of your comments what NASCAR has done to deserve their popularity. Like I said, we believe they were just lucky to be at the right place at the right time.  I know Champ Car racing is getting ready to kick in high gear (thank goodness). Wes Burrow, Memphis, TN   Dear Wes, As we have stated on numerous occasions, sports fans worship their heroes - the athletes.  Auto racing is no different, especially NASCAR.  There is an emotional attachment between NASCAR fans and their drivers, especially Dale Earnhardt Jr. who has become a hero to all the fans that loved his father.  It was as if he just stepped right into his shoes and took over the role.  NASCAR has done an excellent job of putting the NASCAR drivers front and center.  NASCAR has so much money behind them they pretty much own the media.  Every racing publication (print and TV) and some non-racing publications, are flooded with NASCAR material supported by the many advertisers NASCAR sends their way.  The France family has control of some key media publications and they use them to promote their drivers.  Some of the drivers have great personalities making them very entertaining to watch on TV.  Compare that to F1 drivers like Kimi Raikkonen and Mika Hakkinen who are about as entertaining as watching paint dry. NASCAR is still predominantly a blue-collar sport, though it has become a bit more white-collar in recent years. It appeals to the masses, The Bubbas, as some like to affectionately call them.  They wear their favorite driver on their sleeve - - literally, who have become walking billboards.  You won't catch too many F1 fans wearing a Jeff Gordon shirt with his DuPont Chevy plastered on the front and back.  That simply isn't fashionable to people who drive Mercedes and BMW's [Pictured above right:  We do not expect to see too many white collar fans doing this. Only a Bubba].  In general, white collar fans are more affluent and educated and don't tend to worship sports figures as their hero like a less affluent person might.  To the masses, the common folk, worshiping a sports figure allows them to live their dreams of greatness through their hero, a sort of Walter Mitty phenomena.  As we have said, it's the driver stupid.  NASCAR has figured that out, the majority of the other racing series are clueless in that regard.  Mark C.

2/27/04

Mecachrome signs deal with Cheever Racing  Canadian-based international engine firm Mecachrome has announced a partnership with the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series Red Bull Cheever Racing team.  stated senior Mecachrome executive Guillaume Casella: “This alliance will allow our highly dedicated engineers to work side by side with the Red Bull Cheever Racing team in the quest for the IRL championship title.”   Added Eddie Cheever Jr., owner of Red Bull Cheever Racing: "Our partnership with Mecachrome is the beginning of an opportunity to utilize some very intelligent engineers and advanced resources in the automobile and aeronautical industry.  "Mecachrome's international expertise and Formula 1 experience will not only enhance development within our team, but will bring us to a whole new level of motor sport innovation." 

2/27/04

Latest F1 news in brief  

Ralf And Gerhard Try-Out ETCC Car
Toyota Need More Time
F1 Backmarkers Told To Move Over
How Times Have Changed: F1 Marshall
Klien Faces-Up To F1 Debut
Bridgestone: We Were Too Conservative
Honda To Extend BAR Deal
Webber Pledges Future To Jaguar
Irvine's Still On The Run
DC Prefers Speed To Reliability 

Button's No Longer 'Too Nice'
Carmakers Unite To Cut Testing
Jaguar Under No Illusion
Williams Quit Final Test
Finishing Touches At Bahrain
Schu Feels 'Fresh' For 13th
Jaguar's Wirdheim Settles-In
Webber Changes Mind
BAR Point To Podium

2/26/04

Rand Team announces 2004 drivers  Rand Racing today announced a strong driver lineup for the upcoming Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, and a technical partnership with Yokohama Tire Corporation. Mike Fitzgerald, James Gue, and team owner Bill Rand will share the #7 LMP2 Rand Racing Lola B2K/40, with Marino Franchitti, Derek Hill, and Andy Lally in the identical #8 entry. As a group the drivers bring experience to the team ranging from karting championships and F3000 to multiple endurance wins at Daytona and Sebring. Yokohama will provide engineering and development resources, as well as the new ADVAN radial racing slick and wet weather pattern tires to the team.   More.....

2/26/04

GP of Miami practice results  Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series drivers got their first taste of racing on the banking of the NEW Homestead-Miami Speedway on Thursday during the opening practice session for this Saturday's Grand Prix of Miami. The speeds were quicker due to the new configuration, and several teams were at the top of the leaderboard during the one-hour, 45-minute practice session. At the end of the session, the SunTrust Racing No. 10 Pontiac Riley XI turned a 1:15.262 lap at 110.016 mph that would not be beat. Max Angelelli was at the wheel of the No. 10 Pontiac Daytona Prototype during its fast lap, which was 1.720 seconds faster than the qualifying record set by David Donohue last year. "It's the first time I've raced here since the construction. It's good; I like it. It's much more fun that the other configuration. It seems to be a little bit more challenging with the banking. The traffic is not going to be easy," said Angelelli. "I like the new banking. We've just got to find where the groove is. The car is very good. There are some issues that we're working on, but we'll be OK for tomorrow," added Angelelli's co-driver, Wayne Taylor. Four teams were quicker than last year's qualifying time of 1:16.982. The CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates No. 01 Lexus Riley was second-quickest with its 1:15.588 lap, while Michael Shank Racing's No. 6 Lexus Doran JE4 was third fastest with a 1:15.705. The Doran-Lista Racing No. 27 Lexus Doran was the fourth Daytona Prototype to top last year's time with a 1:16.179 lap.

2/26/04

Earnhardt movie being pushed back  Barry Pepper is in the driver's seat for the upcoming ESPN original film "3: The Dale Earnhardt Story," which he will star in and co-executive produce. The network has confirmed that Pepper ("25th Hour") will portray the biopic's title character, who died in a crash at the 2001 Daytona 500. Production will begin in the summer in Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta. Originally scheduled to air in late summer, "Earnhardt" has been pushed back to December. Hollywood Reports

2/26/04

Ford being sued  The families of three women killed last year in a fiery crash, including the wife of a former NASCAR crew chief, are suing Ford Motor Co., claiming the limousine they were riding in was defective. The crash in Greensboro on Sept. 10 killed Tara Howell Parker, 29, of Cornelius, whose husband [Shawn Parker - now the #1 Truck crew chief] was then NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett's crew chief. Also killed were her sisters, Mysti Howell-Poplin, 24, and Megan Howell, 16, both of Mocksville. All three were passengers in the limousine when it was hit from behind by a pickup truck. The suit filed Tuesday in Davie County alleges the limousine was defective because its fuel tank was located behind the rear axle, and was more likely to leak fuel when hit from behind. Autopsies showed the women died of burns and smoke inhalation from the fire, not from the impact of the crash, according to the suit. The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages, said attorney Bill Bystrynski, who is representing the families of Tara Parker's sisters. Police said the limousine had stopped in a travel lane on Interstate 40 due to highway construction when it was struck by a 1998 Ford F-150 pickup driven by Jeffrey Niles McFayden of Greensboro. The truck pushed the limousine into the car in front of it. McFayden, 35, was charged with driving while impaired and three counts of second-degree murder. The limousine driver and the driver and a passenger in the front car were not injured. Ford issued a statement on Tuesday, saying there are more than 20 million registered vehicles with fuel tanks located behind the rear axle, and that such designs are common among every major vehicle manufacturer. "The National Highway Traffic Safety Association specifically investigated this issue and found that tank location does not determine safety, but rather component and structural design," the statement said. WSOCTV.com

2/26/04

Odds to win March 7 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at LVMS  LAS VEGAS - Odds courtesy Micah Roberts, Station Casinos sports books, Las Vegas.
Kurt Busch - 8-1
Ryan Newman - 8-1
Jimmie Johnson - 8-1
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 9-1
Jeff Gordon - 10-1
Matt Kenseth - 10-1
Tony Stewart - 11-1
Kevin Harvick - 13-1
Bobby Labonte - 14-1
Rusty Wallace - 15-1
Dale Jarrett - 15-1
Kasey Kahne - 18-1
Jeremy Mayfield - 18-1
Sterling Marlin - 20-1
Jamie McMurray - 20-1
Bill Elliott - 20-1
Michael Waltrip - 25-1
Mark Martin - 25-1
Jeff Burton - 25-1
Elliott Sadler - 30-1
Greg Biffle - 30-1
Ricky Rudd - 30-1
Brendan Gaughan - 35-1
Robby Gordon - 35-1
Brian Vickers - 35-1
Kyle Busch - 35-1
Scott Wimmer - 40-1
Terry Labonte - 50-1
Ricky Craven - 50-1
Joe Nemechek - 60-1
John Andretti - 60-1
Ward Burton - 60-1
Scott Riggs - 60-1
Casey Mears - 100-1
Kevin Lepage - 100-1
Johnny Sauter - 100-1
Jeff Green - 150-1
Ken Schrader - 175-1
Kyle Petty - 300-1
Larry Foyt - 500-1
Derrike Cope - 500-1
Field (all others) - 100-1
Other interesting "props":
Over-under cautions - 5
Over: -140
Under: +110
Winning car number
Cars numbered 0-23: -130
Cars numbered 24-99: even
Winning manufacturer
Ford and Dodge: -140
Chevrolet: +110

2/26/04

IRL to launch enhanced websites  Expanded content and improved navigation will greet fans who log on to the Indy Racing League's IndyCar® Series Web site (www.indyracing.com/indycar) on Sunday, Feb. 29 - the date of the season-opening Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The IndyCar Series and the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series (www.indyracing.com/pro) sites have been revamped to include enhanced race day preview and post-race packages. Live timing and scoring from all practice sessions, qualifying and the races will be available for free on the sites.

The Web sites also have been made more fan-friendly with easier navigation and enhanced content through the "Access Card" on the home pages. Online visitors will be able to print pages from the online coloring book in the "Kids Zone," watch video of a Delphi IRL Safety Team training session from "Science On The Track," and find out the responsibilities of each crew member from "Pit Stop Primer" among other things related to the races and the IRL.

Photo galleries of all IndyCar Series drivers have been added to driver biographies, with new photos added after each race. Areas of the IndyCar Series Web site relating to sponsors and partnerships also have been enhanced with video presentations and marketing information. Coming soon will be an IRL "Superstore" for fans to purchase IndyCar Series, Menards Infiniti Pro Series and driver merchandise online.

Additionally, beginning Monday, March 1, the IndyCar Series site will offer original daily content in the form of stories, photos and video and a feature called the "Daily Dish." The Daily Dish will be comprised of five weekly features:

* Stock Watch (gauging which IndyCar Series driver is climbing the charts)
* Glad You Asked (answering fan questions about the IRL, teams and drivers)
* Driver Diary (different driver each month will write an online diary)
* Statman (diving into the world of statistics)
* Talking Points (what drivers and owners are saying about the season)

More original content, photos and graphics will be incorporated into the Web sites as the season progresses.

"Fans enjoy connecting to the Indy Racing League through our Web site and we are excited to offer even more to indyracing.com visitors in 2004," said Ken Ungar, senior vice president, business affairs for the Indy Racing League. "New features, original content and enhanced old favorites will convey the wheel-to-wheel excitement of the sport to visitors on a daily basis."

The 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season begins with the Toyota Indy 300 at 2 p.m. (EST) on Feb. 29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN and the IMS Radio Network. The 2004 Menards Infiniti Pro Series
season begins with the Homestead-Miami 100 on Feb. 29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast on a tape delayed basis by ESPN2 at 4 p.m. on March 4.

2/26/04

Briscoe fastest on bad weather day at Imola   On the last day of testing before the Australian Grand Prix, both Ferrari and Williams had unproductive days thanks to poor weather and reliability. With eight days until first practice in Melbourne, Ryan Briscoe topped the last set of winter test times at Imola today (Thursday). Ferrari took one look at the weather this morning, then packed up and went back to base at Maranello. Their decision proved correct, as the rain steadily worsened throughout the day.
Pos Driver Car-Engine Time Laps
1 Ryan Briscoe Toyota* 1m37.588 51
2 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW 1m39.440s 28
3 Cristiano da Matta Toyota 1m44.044s 32
*2003 car

2/26/04

Champ Car/IRL fight will continue  This Toronto Sun article says, A blood feud between North America's two top open-wheel racing series that has gutted both organizations is showing no signs of healing, Champ Car World Series' new boss said yesterday. Paul Gentilozzi, one of three business tycoons who won a court battle to buy the former CART series, said that he doesn't expect to be invited to Indy Racing League owner Tony George's private suite at Indianapolis Motor Speedway any time soon.

George had bid against the Gentilozzi group in the hope of killing off CART and ending the split between the two racing organizations that has gone on since 1996.  Such a deal, however, most certainly would have meant no Toronto Molson Indy this year.   Gentilozzi said he and his partners -- Gerry Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven -- want the Champ Car series to continue with its variety of racing venues -- road courses, street courses and ovals.

"We didn't buy Champ Car to merge it with somebody else," Gentilozzi said. "We bought it because we believe in the product and we're confident about what it is."

The Michigan real estate developer said that CART's former managers made a lot of mistakes that his group plans to avoid. One is to stop being the promoter of its own events.  That plan cost CART tens of millions of dollars over the past two seasons.   "We were not very good at promoting our own events," Gentilozzi said. "We learned we should leave that to the professionals like Molson."

Gentilozzi was in Toronto yesterday to meet with Molson Indy brass about this year's event and about extending its contract beyond 2005.   "We bought this series to make it successful," he said. "And Toronto, Vancouver and Toronto are a big part of that."   The question remains whether the new Champ Car group can deliver on its commitment of 18 cars come the second week of July in Toronto.   Gentilozzi admits the series is three months behind in terms of having teams in place for the April 18 opening race in Long Beach, Calif.   "But we are catching up quickly," he said. "We are committed to having 18 cars in Long Beach and we will have them."

As of yesterday Champ Car had firm deals for just 12 cars -- two each from Forsythe, P-K, Rocketsports, Newman-Haas and Herdez and single entries from Team Rahal and RuSPORT.  Gentilozzi said the rest of the field will be in place by mid-March.   But George's IRL also is having difficulty filling its grid. Its first race this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway has 19 entries -- a far cry from the 33 needed to fill the field at the Indianapolis 500 in May.

Editor's Note:  Other tidbits mentioned: 15 races for sure and announcement next week on another int'l race, schedule to be confirmed in a week.   TV schedule done. Will be out in a few days.   All races will be aired at 4pm EST on Sundays so some races will be live, tape to live, tape delay.   Network deal done and the network is on board for promotion as well.  An 11am Sunday CCWS show.   2005 Formula will be announced March 8-9 along with teams, drivers and sponsors.   Trans Am driver announcement next week that will knock your socks off.

2/26/04

F1 drivers want clarification on Blue Flag   Formula 1's leading drivers are calling on the sport's bosses to prevent poorly-behaved backmarkers from ruining this season's racing. According to a story in AUTOSPORT, they want the FIA to force the message that it will not tolerate competitors who ignore blue flags.   World Champion Michael Schumacher, a Grand Prix Drivers' Association director, has already spoken to FIA race director Charlie Whiting about the matter, and there is widespread support for action to be taken in time for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.  There was concern last year after Juan Pablo Montoya's fight for victory in the Italian Grand Prix was derailed when he lost valuable time trying to lap the uncooperative Heinz-Harald Frentzen.  Fellow GPDA director Mark Webber added: “We want a consistent stance on the situation so that everybody knows the rules before Melbourne.”

2/26/04

Latest F1 news in brief  

Schu Slides To Imola Record
Cosworth Revives DFV
Trust Without Verstappen
Schumacher Should Retire
Teams Prepare For Season-Opener
Schu Cool On Head-To-Head Win
F1 Bosses Fear Arrest Warrant
Dixon Close To Formula One Deal
Brother Drives For Best Team: Schumacher
Montoya Ready For McLaren Challenge
Todt 'The Worrier' Turns 58
Montagny Moves House
Jordan Slams Working-Hour Limit
Schu Wards Off Retirement Talk
F1 Title Won On Test-Tracks: Engineer
Yoong On Search For F1 Star
Schu Not Keen On 'Superstar' Status

2/25/04

IMS Radio network reaches record number of stations  A record number of affiliates across the country will carry the IMS Radio Network broadcast of the Toyota Indy 300 on Feb. 29. The network has lined up 103 stations for the broadcast, the most to date for any IRL IndyCar Series race with the exception of the Indianapolis 500. IndyCar Series veteran Jaques Lazier will join anchor Mike King and analyst Dave Wilson in the broadcast booth at Homestead-Miami Speedway as a guest color commentator.

2/25/04

ESPN Classic to show IRL marathon  ESPN Classic will celebrate the opening of the IRL IndyCar Series season on Feb. 28 with eight consecutive hours of IRL programming beginning at noon. The marathon offers a behind the scenes look at how the IndyCar Series drivers and teams prepare for IndyCar Series events. The coverage ranges from Buddy Rice racing in his hometown of Phoenix to Michael Andretti's last race in Indianapolis to the five-way championship showdown at Texas Motor Speedway.  The highlight of the day is at 6 p.m., with the 2003 Indy 500 film. The show highlights the month of May and Gil de Ferran's Indianapolis 500 win.
The schedule:
Noon 2003 Season in Review
1 p.m. Pit Pass: Felipe Giaffone at Miami
1:30 p.m. Pit Pass: Buddy Rice at Phoenix
2 p.m. Pit Pass: Inaugural Motegi Japan Race
2:30 p.m. Pit Pass: Team Ganassi Texas to Pikes Peak
3 p.m. Pit Pass: Kenny Brack at Nashville
3:30 p.m. Pit Pass: Dan Wheldon at Kentucky
4 p.m. Pit Pass: Tony Kanaan at Richmond
4:30 p.m. Pit Pass: Scott Sharp at Chicagoland
5 p.m. Pit Pass: Roger Yasukawa at California
5:30 p.m. Pit Pass: Championship at Texas
6 p.m. Pit Pass: 2003 Indy 500 Film
7 p.m. Pit Pass: Michael Andretti Retirement
7:30 p.m. Pit Pass: Championship at Texas

2/25/04
Formula Renault

Formula Renault Winter Invitational drivers take home $150G  The Formula Renault Winter Invitational not only provided the opportunity for teams and drivers to tune up for the 2004 North American Formula Renault Championship season, but it also proved to be very lucrative as well, with a prize purse of well over $150,000 in value being distributed at the season ending banquet, held at the beautiful Keys Gate golf resort facility in Homestead.

Formula Renault Winter Invitational Champion Junior Strous left the event with the largest grin after pocketing his check for $40,000 for his championship effort. Strous’ smile was bolstered from his experience earlier in the day at the helm of the Formula Renault V6 test laps he won as part of the comprehensive prize package for the series.

Strous was awarded five Formula Renault V6 laps for taking the fastest lap of the day at the first promoter test day, held in advance of the opening round race in Sebring, and continued to add to that total during the season with his collection of poles (4) and wins (3) providing him with the chance to take over seventy laps in the powerful V6.

In addition to his cash and test lap awards, Strous also scored with certificates from Guyons Performance Centers totaling $5,500. Guyons is the official supply and service provider for the Formula Renault Winter Invitational, providing all tire services for the teams, as well as serving on-site to insure a full stock of Formula Renault parts are available during every race weekend. Strous is still weighing his options for the 2004 summer season, and knowing he has a significant credit for crucial parts and tires for the summer series might prove helpful for the likeable young Dutchman.

Eurointernational’s Juan Ponte finished second in the championship standings on the strength of his speed and consistency, only finishing outside of the top four once, with three podium appearances. Ponte netted $25,000 for his efforts, with round two winner Gustavo Sondermann scoring his own $20,000 check for his third place finish.

Sondermann, who finished just over one car length behind the thrilling battle for the win in round five (just .013 of a second separated winner Strous and second place finisher Dan McMullen), was overjoyed with his Winter Invitational season with Gelles Racing and taking the big check was the icing on the cake for the birthday boy.

2/25/04

Formula Dodge driver to get Toyota Atlantic test with RuSPORT  After winning -- in its first attempt-- the 2003 Toyota Atlantic Championship behind the stellar driving of A.J. Allmendinger, RuSPORT has finalized an agreement with the Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship Presented by RACER organizers to award the 2004 and 2005 FDNC champions with Toyota Atlantic test days. If RuSPORT itself doesn't conduct the test days, it will facilitate the testing with a Toyota Atlantic team. "This is great news for Skip Barber Formula Dodge competitors," said Divina Galica, Senior V.P. of Racing. FDNC has a history of producing really talented drivers -- A.J. among them -- and for our best drivers to show what they've got in an Atlantic car, well, that's a fantastic opportunity." "RuSPORT is pleased to continue its support of young drivers in their effort to make a career in Champ Car," said RuSPORT Team President Jeremy Dale. There is no doubt in my mind that North American drivers can compete at the highest levels of the sport, but we must all continue to help them develop the necessary skills. This is an important step in that direction." Added Galica, As we recently announced, the FDNC champion now wins $100,000 in cash to take to a team further up the motorsports ladder. Also having the Atlantic seat time on the resume makes for a compelling package -- completely aside from that driver having distinctly proved his or her talent by winning the Skip Barber Formula Dodge title." Allmendinger, 21 and considered one of the top American open-wheel prospects in recent years, won the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series championship, one year after scoring the most points in the 2001 FDNC (but finishing second in the title hunt). RuSPORT announced last week that it will field a Lola for Allmendinger in this year's Champ Car World Series. The Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship Presented by RACER begins its 14- race 2004 season with rounds one and two at the ALMS Mobil1 12-Hours of Sebring March 16- 19.

2/25/04

Champ Car cancels St. Pete race  UPDATE A reader writes, It's looking more and more like the only race I will be going to in person this year will be the Sebring 12 Hours.  Last year I went to Champ Car events in St Pete and Miami and thought they were both great.  Now it appears they are both gone with the wind. This guy Begley you are talking about reminds me quite a bit about a guy named Mr. Poe who tried to block the Tampa Bay Buccaneers new stadium from being built.  A real life Grinch who likes to ruin people's fun.  Doug Ferguson    2/25/04 - Officials with the Champ Car World Series (“Series”) and the City of St. Petersburg regretfully announced Wednesday that, despite their best efforts, they were not able to complete negotiations to acquire the rights to hold the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Open Wheel Racing Series, LLC (“Champ Car”) attempted to acquire the rights to the race from the owner, Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, Inc. (“GPA”), a subsidiary of Dover Motorsports, Inc. However, Champ Car and the city could not proceed with plans for a race without the consent of former rights holder Tom Begley, due to a transaction between Begley and 2003 race promoter GPA. When a successful resolution of the matter between GPA and Begley could not be reached, despite repeated entreaties from the City of St. Petersburg as well as Champ Car officials, the Series was left with no choice but to leave St. Petersburg off the soon-to-be-released 2004 schedule.

“Champ Car worked very hard to hold the St. Petersburg race in 2004. The City of St. Petersburg, under the leadership of Mayor Rick Baker, provided phenomenal support as we tried to reach an agreement to hold the race,” Champ Car President Dick Eidswick said. “Unfortunately, individuals unrelated to Champ Car kept that from happening, which is a disappointment not only to our drivers and teams, but more importantly to the many Champ Car fans throughout the Southeast.

“The success of last year’s race makes this outcome even more of a disappointment,” continued Eidswick. “We were looking to build on that success and all parties worked around the clock for the last two weeks in trying to work out a resolution to include the race on our 2004 schedule. The drivers called it one of the most enjoyable street courses on the circuit and the great fan support was a key factor in our desire to hold the event. While we regret that we can not race in St. Petersburg in 2004, we are hopeful about the possibility of returning in the future, if circumstances allow.”

Statement by Mayor of St. Petersburg

Mayor Rick Baker expressed the city’s disappointment upon hearing that Champ Car was unable to secure the rights to conduct a race in St. Petersburg in 2004:

“It is unfortunate that St. Petersburg will not be included this year in the Champ Car World Series despite repeated attempts made by Open Wheel Racing Series to make the race happen,” said Mayor Baker. “St. Petersburg has demonstrated it can host a successful street racing event along its world class waterfront. The terrific fan support from the 2003 race uniquely positions the city for a return of Champ Car racing in the near future. I am pleased that Champ Car continues to express a desire to return a race to St. Petersburg.”

2/25/04
Industry News

Speedway Motorsports reports big gain  DOW JONES Newswires notes that Speedway Motorsports (Bruton Smith's company) “reported a 30% increase in fourth-quarter net income, which … slightly exceeded expectations.” Net income for Q4 ’03 rose to $11.1M from $8.5M a year earlier. Revenues increased 16% to $84.6M, up from $73.2M. For the full year, net income from continuing operations fell to $58.5M from $61.2M. Yearly revenues rose from $376.6M to $404.5M.

2/25/04

IRL races live on ABC/ESPN/ESPN2  ESPN and ABC Sports will again be the exclusive carriers of Indy Racing League events, providing live television coverage of all 16 IRL IndyCar® Series events for the 2004 season.

Six IndyCar Series races, including the season-opening Toyota Indy 300, will be broadcast live by either ESPN or ESPN2. The other 10 races, including the 88th Indianapolis 500, will be carried live by ABC Sports.

ESPN2 will televise all 12 Menards Infiniti Pro Series races, including live coverage of the Freedom 100 on May 22 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  ESPN and ESPN2's IndyCar Series broadcast will feature veteran host Paul Page and analyst Scott Goodyear, who return to the broadcast booth for the third-straight season.

The announce team also includes veteran pit reporter Jack Arute and newcomer Jamie Little, who was featured on ESPN's coverage of the X Games, Supercross, Motocross and Great Outdoor Games. Dr. Jerry Punch will join Arute and Little for Indianapolis 500 time trials and other superspeedway events.

ABC's commentators will be announced at a later date.  In addition to race coverage, the broadcast partners also will provide supplemental programming.

ESPN2 will supplement coverage of the season-opening race with a 1-hour season preview show at 8 p.m. (EST,) on Feb. 28. The program will look ahead to the upcoming season and include a mix of racing and lifestyle features on series drivers, such as Robbie Buhl, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, A.J. Foyt IV, Dario Franchitti, Sam Hornish Jr., and Tony Kanaan.

ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 also will present extensive coverage of the Indianapolis 500, with ABC Sports offering four total hours of time trials action on May 15 and May 23 and the exclusive race telecast at 11 a.m., (EDT) on May 30.
ESPN and ESPN2 will provide more than 22 hours of Indianapolis 500 programming, including Pole Day, Bump Day, time trials, the Carburetion Day pit stop competition and the Indy 500 Festival Parade.

ESPN also will televise an all-access ESPN Original Entertainment program at 5 p.m., (EDT) on May 29 capturing the speed and pressure that the teams and drivers endure leading in to the 500.

SportsCenter at the Indy 500, an on-site news program, will be aired for the three weeks leading up to the race Monday through Friday at 6:30 p.m., (EDT) on ESPN2. The show will air beginning May 10.

The 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season begins with the Toyota Indy 300 at 2 p.m. (EST) on Feb. 29, at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN and the IMS Radio Network. The 2004 Menards Infiniti Pro Series season begins with the Homestead-Miami 100 on Feb. 29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast on a tape delayed basis by ESPN2 at 4 p.m. on March 4.

2/25/04

Brian France moves back to Daytona  Location, location, location. Apparently, Brian France is taking his new job seriously. According to the Los Angeles Times, NASCAR's new chairman and CEO sold his Southern California home to move to Florida, near stock-car racing's headquarters. France reportedly received close to his asking price of $12.9 million for the house and six-acre property in a gated Brentwood community of Los Angeles. The 10,800-square foot house, built in 2001, features seven bedrooms, 81/2 bathrooms, an outside living room with a fireplace, and mountain and city views. Philadelphia Inquirer

2/25/04

Schumacher breaks lap record at Imola   Michael Schumacher put his F1 rivals on notice that he isn't ready to roll over and play dead just yet.  Schumacher shattered the Imola lap record today in testing with a lap of 1m19.664s.  The world champion continued with development work on the F2004, covering a total of 98 laps, the quickest in a time of 1'19"664. For his part, the Brazilian driver undertook a series of tire tests at the wheel of an F2003-GA: he did 52 laps, with a best time of 1'21"235. Both Schumacher and Barrichello continue testing tomorrow.  We will have the times of other drivers shortly.  Photos

2/25/04

IRL weekly teleconference transcript  We welcome Helio Castroneves, along with Menards Infiniti Pro Series driver Thiago Medeiros, to today's conference. Thiago will join us in the second half hour of this call. We'll start today with Helio Castroneves. Driving his third full season in the IRL, Helio has finished near the top of the IndyCar® Series championship, finishing second in 2002 and third last year. Helio will no doubt be up front again in 2004 and was third quickest in the final IndyCar Series Open Test which took place earlier this month at Phoenix International Raceway.  Transcript

2/25/04

Bernie and Max take another blow from anti-tobacco   So much for F1's fight against countries that ban tobacco advertising.  It is reported in Japan that the Japanese government will shortly announce that it is to sign the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. In doing so it will commit itself to banning all tobacco sponsorship in Japan and working towards a global ban on all tobacco advertising. The news could create problems for Renault F1 in the longer term as the team is sponsored by Mild Seven, a brand which belongs to Japan Tobacco.  More significantly, the banning of advertising will mean that there can be no more tobacco logos at the Japanese GP, which will not please the powers-that-be in Formula 1.  Grandprix.com

2/25/04

Darlington to also get SAFER Barrier  Darlington Raceway is getting the SAFER barriers in time for the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 next month.  Installation of the so-called "soft walls" already is under way at NASCAR's oldest superspeedway, track officials said Tuesday. The race is scheduled for March 21.  Earlier this year, NASCAR said all facilities hosting Nextel Cup series events would be fitted with the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction system by next January.

2/25/04

Cosworth to remake legendary DFV   Cosworth Racing has announced that it is to resume manufacture of the most successful engine in the history of Formula One racing, the DFV V8. Cylinder blocks, heads, sumps and front covers will all be available from late spring/early summer.  [Pictured: 400th Ford Cosworth DFV F1 Engine, 1986. (Left to Right when enlarged) Mike Costin, Keith Duckworth, Walter Hayes.]

Conceived by Cosworth founder Keith Duckworth in 1966, the DFV (Double Four Valve) was a quantum leap in terms of engine design. Duckworth considered all areas of the engine from first principles and consequently designed an ideal solution to each of the inherent challenges. The result was an engine that was not only extremely light, compared to its competitors, but gave exceptional power and driveability from the outset.

However, it was not only the power unit itself that was innovative. The DFV was the first engine in Formula One racing to form part of the race car’s structure, as a stressed member. This meant that the structure and framework that traditionally retained the engine within the car were no longer required and as such, the car’s overall weight was greatly reduced.

Cosworth was commissioned by Ford to develop and supply five examples of the DFV in 1966. It delivered the first engine to the Lotus team in 1967, in time for the Dutch Grand Prix, which Jim Clark promptly won. The engine went on to claim a further 154 race wins in Formula One, before various derivatives were used in America, in IndyCars and Champ Car racing.

Nowadays, the engine is experiencing a renewed lease on life in classic race series, such as the Thoroughbred Grand Prix Championship, which Cosworth Racing supports. And it is because of this that Cosworth Racing decided to remanufacture the DFV’s core components, to service an ongoing demand for the engine.

2/25/04

Briscoe wants to race, not test   According to Autosport Magazine, Toyota test driver Ryan Briscoe, who has been linked with the Minardi testing role for Melbourne, has said he would like to race for the team next year if there is no vacancy at Toyota. “If, come next year, there is no spot for me at Toyota and they say, ‘Look, we can put you in a Minardi’, then that would be fantastic,” he said. “I would take that any day.”

2/25/04

Revamped Champ Car safety team ready to roll, names new Medical Director  Widely regarded as the finest safety unit in all of motorsports, the 2004 Champ Car Safety Team will be under the leadership of Dr. Chris Pinderski, M.D., FACEP who takes over as series Medical Director after 12 years of working with the renowned Champ Car Safety Team.

Pinderski, who has most recently served several seasons as the series Associate Medical Director, moves up to the lead role this year as Champ Car looks to capitalize on the strengths of its participating physicians. In addition to his racing duties, Pinderski serves as the Medical Director at Three Rivers Regional Medical Center in Poplar Bluff, Missouri and specializes in emergency medicine.  More....

2/25/04

Giebler signs with Duesenberg  Keith Duesenberg Racing and the Western Union Speed Team are proud to announce that they will campaign their sophomore year in the Indy Racing League Menards Infiniti Pro Series with one of Europe's hottest up-and-comers behind the wheel -- Phil Giebler from Oxnard, Calif.

Giebler, 23, tested with the Western Union Speed Team at Phoenix International Raceway in February at the IRL's annual Test In The West. Although it was Giebler's first oval track experience and his first-ever look at a Menards Infiniti Pro Series car, driver and team quickly gelled and Giebler finished the day third-fastest overall, impressing all who were in attendance.

"I knew from the first moment I got on track with this team that we could contend for a championship this season," said Giebler. "The crew and I communicated very well and they helped me get comfortable very quickly with the racecar."

 

The Western Union Speed Team finished second in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series standings in 2003, notching two victories and eight top-five finishes in twelve starts. Team owner Keith Duesenberg feels that, with Phil Giebler behind the wheel, a championship could be on the horizon.

“After following Phil’s career overseas, everything we’ve heard about him exceeded those reports,” said Duesenberg. “We were impressed with Phil both in and out of the car. He’s smart, a quick learner, and a solid communicator with a great sense of humor. The Western Union Speed Team is pleased to have a driver with such great potential. We see Phil as that last piece of the puzzle in our pursuit of the Menards Infiniti Pro Series championship.”

Giebler, who has built an impeccable reputation in the European Formula ranks with his determination, persistence, and skill, is considered to be on the fast track to competing in the world-renowned Formula One World Championship -- a goal he has had since he was a teenager. For years he has navigated the difficult waters of European racing, struggling to find sponsorship and relying on his impressive talent to open doors that normally only respond to money. His commitment to his goal and his outstanding performances without the benefit of testing or top equipment eventually landed him a ride in the International F3000 series – one step away from F1. The politics and financial requirements at the F3000 level, however, presented huge roadblocks for Giebler. Although several teams were eager to sign the young American, they would not do so without extravagant sums of personal sponsorship money.

2/25/04

Latest F1 news in brief  

Never Better Prepared: Barrichello
Weather Spoils 3-Way Head-To-Head
McLaren To Sell Final F1 Road-Car
Timekeeper Pulls Plug On Formula One
New Ferrari Grows Wings
Ralf Tries Diversionary Talk
Schu's Getting Better With Age
Schumacher As Ambassador
Threat On Aussie GP Dropped
Kimi Does Learning On F1 Tracks

F1's New Rule-Changes
Malaysia Predicts F1 Thriller
Lauda Dents F1 Chance
Bahrain: Free Two-Week 'F1 Visas'
New Engine-Rule Is New Headache

2/24/04

TAG Heuer gives up on F1   UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, I am not sure if you were aware or not, but the Swatch group owns Tag Heuer. In the watch world, there is a lot of technology swapping, and parts sharing among the different watch brands that Swatch owns. So it's quite likely that Swatch will be the official timing and scoring partner of F1, using the same exact equipment that is in place now.  J. Gonzalez, San Dimas, CA  2/24/04 - This GrandPrix.com article says that in a very cleverly-worded press release TAG Heuer has announced that it is to "relinquish its FIA Formula One timekeeping activity after 12 years of participation". The company is to remain involved as a sponsor of McLaren while also branching out into the Indy Racing League, where it will be the official timekeeper this year. The company will also have personal deals with IRL Champion Scott Dixon and Sarah Fisher. The news is not a great surprise given that TAG Heuer took much of the blame for what happened in Interlagos last year when the wrong winner was declared after a chaotic Brazilian GP. The timing of F1 is done nowadays by the Formula One group and the partnership with TAG Heuer was for the supply of equipment and sponsorship for FOM. The time-keeping in F1 is thus not in any doubt for this season but it remains to be seen which company will take up the role. The frontrunner for the job seems to be Swatch, which was involved in the sport in the 1970s and 1980s under the Tissot name, as a sponsor of Team Lotus and Renault. The company quit F1 in 1983 when it merged with Asuag and in 1997 this organization rebranded itself as Swatch.

2/24/04

Las Vegas News  Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s ever improving vehicle flow for its NASCAR Weekend should be enhanced significantly this year with the completion of the Las Vegas Beltway, according to LVMS officials.

The loop, which opened this past November as Nevada Route 215, connects Interstate 15 North with U.S. 95 and reconnects with I-15 south of the city. The beltway’s northern loop was open for the 2003 event and helped make 2003 the most successful year for ingress and egress in the speedway’s history.

“The completion of the beltway will certainly help disperse a lot of cars on I-15,” said Chris Powell, LVMS president and general manager. “We hope that everyone living in the western part of the valley will use the beltway going to and from the speedway. Even if you’re headed to the Strip, it’s not a bad idea to take the beltway to U.S. 95 and go downtown from there. And race fans heading back to Southern California will be able to follow the beltway all the way around the valley until it reconnects with I-15 just south of the airport.”

Speedway officials still encourage as many race fans as possible to use buses and shuttles such as Citizens Area Transit (CAT) for transportation to the races.

“The flow of cars into and out of the speedway has improved steadily from year to year. Each year, we find ways to make the situation even better. We still suggest that fans take the various buses and shuttles that are available from downtown and The Strip as opposed to driving to the speedway.”

This year’s event also will see a crackdown on the fraudulent use of handicapped placards. Speedway security will be checking the validity of handicapped passes on each vehicle.

“We take caring for the handicapped very seriously at the speedway,” Powell said. “It’s important to us that handicapped fans coming to our race are not inconvenienced by those who are perfectly capable of parking in the general parking area.”

General parking is free at LVMS.
Speedway officials are expecting a crowd in excess of 135,000 fans for the March 7 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup event. The weekend kicks off with qualifying for both the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 and Sam’s Town 300 on Friday, March 5. The Sam’s Town 300 NASCAR Busch Series race will be held Saturday, March 6. There also will be two nights of the O’Reilly World of Outlaws on the half-mile dirt track beginning Thursday, March 4 and the Southern Nevada Dodge Dealers Showdown on Saturday, March 6. This event will include a 100-lap Super Late Model race and a 20-lap celebrity race featuring several members of the NASCAR on FOX broadcast team.

2/24/04

OWRS fighting to gain ACCUS membership  Autoracing1.com has been sitting on this story for two weeks now waiting for the final outcome regarding OWRS's membership in ACCUS thereby giving it FIA sanctioning.  ACCUS is the USA ASN of the FIA (got all those acronyms?).  However, since David Phillips got wind of it in this SPEED TV article, enjoy. We can tell you that OWRS does have a Plan A and a Plan B & C so we shall see how it all plays out....

2/24/04

Tony George's quotes from Wind Tunnel  Here are select quotes from Monday's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on SPEED Channel. Indy Racing League President and CEO Tony George spoke with Dave about the future of the IRL.  George on IRL direction following failed bid on CART assets: "We're moving forward. It was an opportunity to unify the sport. It was an opportunity we didn't expect. Two days before, they changed their mind about doing a purchase of the stock and buying the company.  More on Home page

2/24/04

USGP schedule set   The United States Grand Prix race will start at noon (EST, local time) Sunday, June 20, according to a timetable released by the FIA, governing body of Formula One.  Defending event champion Michael Schumacher will attempt to win his third USGP on the 2.605-mile road circuit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Schumacher also won the inaugural F1 race at Indianapolis in 2000.  Single-lap qualifying will start at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 19. The complete weekend schedule for Formula One on-track activity (all times local):
FRIDAY, June 18
11 a.m.-noon Practice Session 1

2-3 p.m. Practice Session 2
SATURDAY, June 19
9-9:45 a.m. Practice Session 3
10:15-11 a.m. Practice Session 4
1 p.m. Qualifying Session
SUNDAY, June 20
Noon United States Grand Prix (73 laps)
The schedule for support series will be announced later.  Tickets for the 2004 United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis are on sale. Fans can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.

2/24/04

QUIKSILVER to supply Jordan GP   Jordan Grand Prix today announces QUIKSILVER as an official supplier, providing eyewear and time pieces to the team during the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship. Eddie Jordan, Chief Executive of Jordan Grand Prix, said, “I think it’s awesome that QUIKSILVER are going to be involved with Jordan this year. Our companies are both about innovation, performance, technology and design so our partnership is a good fit. Formula One is an excellent environment to reinforce QUIKSILVER’s brand of adrenaline-charged living and I think they share Jordan’s brand values.” Pierre Agnès, General Manager of QUIKSILVER, said, " Precision, superior design and high performance have always been key features within the world of Formula One. We strongly believe QUIKSILVER share the same values when it comes to products. We’re delighted to have become an official supplier of Jordan Grand Prix with Quiksilver’s Time Pieces and Eyewear, it clearly demonstrates our commitment and dedication to exceed people’s expectations within those product categories.” ------ Founded in Torquay, Australia, in the late 60’s, QUIKSILVER has successfully managed to become the leading brand in the world of boardriding, whilst remaining true to its roots and values.

2/24/04

Levi's signs Jimmie Johnson  Levi Strauss says it has signed a sponsorship deal to make its Signature line the exclusive apparel sponsor for Nextel Cup driver Jimmie Johnson. The deal includes both retail and at-track programs. The brand says it has also agreed to a category-exclusive deal with NASCAR that will include usage of the NASCAR trademarks and opportunities to partner on special marketing programs. Financial terms were not announced. NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter

2/24/04

Ralf pips brother Michael at Imola   This Autosport article says, Ralf Schumacher gave Williams bragging rights on the first full day of testing at Imola today (Tuesday), outpacing brother Michael's Ferrari F2004 by 0.054s. However, wet, snowy conditions hampered running, making it difficult to truly judge the state of play.
Pos Driver Chassis-engine Tires Time Laps
1 Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW M 1m21.869s 57
2 Michael Schumacher Ferrari B 1m21.923s 32
3 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari B 1m22.566s 27*
4 David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes M 1m23.198s 19
5 Cristiano da Matta Toyota M 1m25.581s 19
6 Olivier Panis Toyota M 1m27.001s 37

2/24/04

Ferrari sports new wing at Imola   This Autosport article says, Ferrari has continued its aerodynamic development program on the F2004 by running with a radical new wing mounted on its engine cover during the test at Imola.  The new development, which resembles one run by Toyota at Monaco in 2002, features two narrow aerodynamic wings, each around 30cm long, sprouting from either side of the airbox intake directly above the driver's head.  Rubens Barrichello was the first to run with the new mid-wing yesterday (Monday), while Michael Schumacher has taken over development work on the F2004 today.   Snow halted testing at the Italian track at lunchtime on Tuesday, where the F2004 is going head-to-head against the new cars of Williams and McLaren for the first time.  At the launch of the F2004, chief designer Rory Byrne had promised there would be major aerodynamic developments to the car before the first race.   "They'll be fairly substantial change to the aerodynamic components," he said. "Things that will be obvious are the front-wing, turning vanes and the aerodynamics at the rear of the car. I don't want to say more than that, but there will be a substantial change to the aerodynamics at the rear of the car."

2/24/04
Industry News

TAG Heuer confirms strong racing commitment  UPDATE Bill Crisan writes to say, Tissot is sponsoring AMA Supercross. They have a lot of signage at races, and I think that they award a Tissot watch to each weekly main event winner. Here's a link for confirmation.  2/23/04 - TAG Heuer today confirms its strongest ever motor racing commitment with, for the first time in the 144 years Company history, an active involvement in the two major open wheel racing disciplines in the world, namely Formula One and Indy 500/Indy Racing League.

In Formula One where the Company has been protagonist since 1969, TAG Heuer is happy to announce it has renewed and extended its partnership with Team West McLaren-Mercedes and its drivers, Kimi Raïkkönen, and David Coulthard. TAG Heuer celebrates this year 20 years of partnership with the Team, crowned by 8 FIA Formula 1 drivers world championship titles won with Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna and Mika Hakkinen. TAG Heuer becomes Corporate Partner and Official Timekeeper of the Team. This is an important field where the Company has built a unique experience since 1971 when it became Timekeeper of Scuderia Ferrari, and 1992 with the Timekeeping of the whole FIA Formula One championship.

TAG Heuer will more than ever work closely with Team West McLaren-Mercedes engineers and drivers to develop unique timepieces inspired by the pinnacle of motor racing, like the Microtimer F1 or the new TAG Heuer Formula 1. TAG Heuer will also be actively involved in the new McLaren Technical Center as well as in McLaren-Mercedes roadcars projects and timekeeping tests.

In the mythical Indy 500-mile race and with the Indy Racing League, the world fastest races with the closest qualifying and finish line gaps, TAG Heuer becomes the Official Timekeeper and Chronograph. TAG Heuer is providing the IRL championship and the Indy 500-mile race with 1/10’000th second Timekeeping monitoring, that is 10 times more accurate than any other sport worldwide (Formula One is monitored at the 1/1000th of a second, Skiing at the 1/100th of a second). To succeed in this new challenge and ensure total focus of its engineers and resources, TAG Heuer has decided to relinquish its FIA Formula One Timekeeping activity after 12 years of participation. TAG Heuer wants to thank the FIA, FOM and Allsport Management for their trust and support over these fantastic years and wishes a similar success to the new Timekeeper soon to be appointed.

In parallel to Timekeeping at the 1/10’000th of a second, TAG Heuer will be the partner of IRL 2003 Champion, Scott Dixon, bearing #1 on his car this season and favorite for both 2004 title and Indy 500 race, as well as 3 years in a row Most Popular Driver of the IRL, Sarah Fisher.

2/24/04

Did Champ Car sign a China deal yet?  Ford plans $1 billion China plant  U.S. auto giant Ford plans to build a second car plant in eastern China to serve the booming area around the country's commercial hub, the company said Monday, playing catch-up to arch-rival GM and others.   Ford, which aims to invest more than $1 billion in the world's fastest growing major car market in coming years, signed an agreement on Saturday that secured its rights to use land in Nanjing, a three-hour drive from China's richest city, Shanghai.  The new plant would grant Ford access to the bustling eastern provinces as well as better talent pools as it strives to compete against entrenched rivals General Motors Corp and Volkswagen AG in the coastal markets.  But analysts said Ford's move may be too little too late, with those two better-established rivals together controlling about half the country's car sales.  "They came to the market very late and this makes their job of competing with GM and Volkswagen that much more difficult," said Angela Gu, an analyst at Automotive Resources Asia, an independent industry consultancy.  "But the new plant is not just closer to the main markets -- the labor pool is superior too," Gu added.  Reuters

2/24/04

Waltrip:  CART's loss could be NASCAR's gain  In an apparent cost-cutting measure, the new owners of the racing series formerly known as CART are replacing Steve Olvey and Terry Trammel — doctors who led what might have been auto racing's finest safety crew for more than 20 years.  Former NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip sees that series' loss as an opportunity for the Nextel Cup series to make tremendous safety gains.  "I just can't tell you what that would do for our sport in terms of credibility," says Waltrip, now an analyst for Fox Sports.  Trammel, who has been with CART for 22 years, will remain with the series as a consultant but isn't expected to keep working with the safety team. Olvey, who has been with CART for 25 years, will concentrate on his full-time job as a neurosurgeon in Miami but wants to stay involved in racing.  Would Olvey be interested in working for NASCAR? "Absolutely," he says. "I think NASCAR's made phenomenal strides in the last 2½ years. I'd be excited, really, to talk to them and help out any way I can."  NASCAR officials could not be reached for comment.   Led by Olvey and Trammel for 22 years, the CART series' traveling safety team has been consistently praised for its quick, professional response to accidents. When driver Alex Zanardi's legs were sheared off in a September 2001 accident, Trammel, Olvey and others saved his life.  USA Today

2/24/04

Rockingham TV ratings  Fox's broadcast of Sunday's Subway 400 Nextel Cup race from North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham was the most-watched sports program of the weekend, today's Sports Business Daily reports. Overnight Nielsen Media Research figures from the nation's largest markets show the race drew a 6.3 rating and 14 share to easily outdistance the 4.4/9 that ABC drew for Sunday's final round of the PGA Tour's Nissan Open. The Daily says Fox's 6.3/14 was even with last year's overnight 6.3/13, but up 11 percent from the 2002 race, also on Fox. Final figures for the 2003 race were 6.7/16.  NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter

2/24/04

McNish flies on Audi return    Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx's drivers Allan McNish, Frank Biela, Jamie Davies, Johnny Herbert, Pierre Kaffer and Guy Smith all spent time behind the wheel at Road Atlanta this past weekend, which was held in mixed weather conditions. All six drivers posted a lap time that would have earned a front row grid position in the 2003 Petit Le Mans.  "Both cars did a race simulation lasting almost three hours during Monday which was run in cool, overcast and showery weather conditions," said Herbert. "I broke into the 1m11s [bracket], which was pleasing, but the more rewarding aspect was the consistency of pace throughout the race run by all three drivers, in changeable conditions. Both cars are evenly matched – we started the race simulation nose to tail and finished together."  Audi returnee McNish said: "I initially concentrated on getting used to driving a sportscar again compared to the characteristics of a F1 car – like right foot braking, changing up and down the gears and the extra weight. The biggest difference from the Audi R8 I drove four years ago is the FSI [petrol direct injection] engine which felt tremendous – very smooth and drivable."  McNish ultimately set the fastest time during the test, a 1m11.26s on Monday morning. Autosport

2/24/04

Tony George's goals - growth and unification  This USA Today article says that the last time the Indy Racing League had such a busy off-season, it was gearing up for an inaugural race at Walt Disney World skeptics doubted would ever happen in an upstart series that never should have happened.

The objective is different as the IRL prepares to open season nine Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but the stir created this winter was just as noteworthy.

Besides announcing that smaller engines would be used in the aftermath of Kenny Brack's serious crash in Texas and the death of Tony Renna at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during practice in October, the IRL floated plans to add road courses in 2005 right about the time that rival Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) was entering bankruptcy.

Seeing an opportunity to achieve that latter goal, the IRL bid $13.5 million for CART's assets before a federal judge last month rejected it, leaving open-wheel racing divided for another year. The failed overture nonetheless sent a clear message the IRL accepts temporary setbacks as part of long-term vision that includes racing on ovals and street courses, a schedule of 18-22 events and possibly expanding into the New York metropolitan area.

"We had a lot of interesting things happen in the off-season," IRL founder Tony George said Monday in a meeting with USA TODAY editors.

"We have a solid core group of teams that are well prepared and well financed coming to Homestead. ... We think it's going to be a season that we continue to build on (as it) progresses."

No road courses are set to date, but several former domestic CART sites such as Mid-Ohio and Detroit could be considered for their 2005 season. George also expressed interest in racing in Canada (Toronto) and Mexico (Mexico City) to complement its current stop at Motegi, Japan. [Editor's Note:  On Wind Tunnel Monday night Tony said two, but probably four road courses because that was the minimum number needed to make it economically viable to the teams who have an expense to gear up for road course racing.]

He's also curious about New York City, an area also targeted by NASCAR as a long-term goal. CART once competed nearby on temporary ovals at the Meadowlands complex, an option George dismissed in favor of a permanent facility. And when it's viable.

As part of that process the IRL has enacted several measures for safety and cost containment, including:

• Cars that can run on ovals and road courses. Brian Barnhart, the IRL's senior vice president of operations, said 75% of its cars' parts are compatible with racing on ovals, street and road courses.

• Limiting the number of engines used on race weekends. Better known as the single-engine rule, in which teams must use the same motor for practice, qualifying and the race on two-day race weekends. Teams can change engines before qualifying on three-day weekends, but must stick with that engine throughout or start from the back.

• Elimination of private tests. Teams recently finished open tests at Homestead and Phoenix, with others upcoming at Indianapolis and Milwaukee. Barnhart estimated that could save teams $1 million a year.

• Reducing engines from 3.5 liters to 3.0 liters, starting with the Indianapolis 500 in May. This resulted from a spate of speeds topping 230 mph last year at the 2.5-mile Brickyard, as well as concern following Brack's high-speed wreck that he's still recovering from.

"Our goal is to maintain the ability to pass," Barnhart said. "We want to maintain performance, but also the quality of our races."

Quality is not the problem for the IRL as much as getting viewers to watch, especially when compared with NASCAR. IRL senior vice president of business affairs Ken Ungar said it has had "good discussions" with ABC and ESPN regarding its race broadcasts, the immediate result being more promotion for Sunday's race.

George's ultimate goal remains unifying a sport divided since the IRL's debut in 1996.

While aware of public and media perception that his pursuit of CART was done with the intent of shutting it down, he said unity was his goal and believes it's still possible within three to five years.

"We strive to be leaders in motorsports entertainment and look to improve and love it so much that I'd be astonished if we couldn't bring it together sooner than that," he said. "I'm surprised it hasn't happened by now."

2/24/04

Ecclestone admits to interest in CART  This Pitpass.com article says that F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has finally admitted that he did consider making a bid for the troubled CART series which has recently been purchased by the Open Wheel Racing Series group. Although Ecclestone was rumored to be eyeing the series, the Englishman vehemently denied any interest. Many believed that Ecclestone could use CART to boost F1's image in North America. "They waited for me to raise the necessary amount before they signed on others," he has told the American media, "but I just couldn't get the money together. "We'll have to wait and see how they survive," he added. "I was hoping to get them together with the IRL and then I think it would have worked."  [Editor's Note: We do not believe the whole story is being told here.  Bernie has a non-compete clause with F1 via the Concorde Agreement.  We do not see how that would have allowed him to own another open-wheel series unless all parties agreed and we don't see the manufacturers in F1 agreeing to Bernie diverting any of his attention away from F1.  What we believe is happening is a peaceful agreement to cooperate behind the scenes between OWRS and Bernie and to look for opportunities to work together and to not step on each others toes in the same market.  It is quite possible that the replacement for the Concorde Agreement, which is in its final stages of being written up, won't include a non-compete clause for Bernie.  If it doesn't, that would open the door for Bernie to buy into Champ Car and use it in conjunction with F1 as he sells racing events around the world.  As we have maintained for a long time, Bernie is in business to make money from putting on races, and the more races he can stage, the more he will make.  If he had Champ Car in his back pocket, he could pick and choose where to sell F1 and where to sell Champ Car depending on how much the promoter, many times the local government, can afford.  If he doesn't buy into Champ Car, they still can foster a working relationship much like NASCAR and the IRL have formed.  Mark C.]

2/24/04

Latest F1 news in brief  

BAR Tops As Final F1 Tests Begin
Michelin Predict Another Bridgestone Title
Schumacher Denies Quit Threat
Stoddart Laughs At 'Beggar' Remark
Motor Sport Condemns Working-Hour Limit

DC Not Motivated To Win: Rival Boss
Jordan Supports Malaysian Driver
Coulthard Is McLaren's Number Two
Montoya On Target For F1 Title
McLaren Working On Technical Bugs

Webber: New Racer Is Up To Scratch
BAR's Knocking On 'Top Four' Door
How Does BMW Build Best F1 Engine?
Close-Call On Bahrain Track Completion

2/23/04

On the air   Two-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr., will appear on the ESPN2 morning show, "Cold Pizza" on Tuesday, Feb. 24. The show airs from 7-9 a.m. (EST).  The 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season begins with the Toyota Indy 300 at 2 p.m. (EST) on Feb. 29, at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN and the IMS Radio Network.

2/23/04

AGR adds associate sponsor   Forsythe Solutions Group, Inc., will continue as an associate sponsor on Dario Franchitti's No. 27 Arca/Ex Dallara/Honda/Firestone for the 2004 season after signing an increased associated sponsorship deal on Feb. 23.  "We're very pleased to announce Forsythe's return as an associate sponsor at Andretti Green Racing," team owner Michael Andretti said. "Forsythe is a very successful organization and is an industry leader, which makes it an excellent partner for our race team."  Forsythe, a national provider of technology infrastructure solutions, joined Andretti Green in 2003 at the Indianapolis 500.

2/23/04

XM Radio to sponsor Herta   Andretti Green Racing's No. 7 Honda-powered Dallara, which is driven by Bryan Herta, will carry the colors and branding of XM Satellite Radio during the 2004 IndyCar® Series season.  XM will make its official debut on the car Feb. 29 when Herta and his AGR teammates open the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway.   XM is America's No. 1 satellite radio service, with more than 1.5 million subscribers. Broadcasting live daily from studios in Washington, D.C., New York City and Nashville, Tenn., at the Country Music Hall of Fame, XM's 2004 lineup includes more than 120 digital channels of choice from coast to coast: 68 commercial-free music channels, featuring hip hop to opera, classical to country, bluegrass to blues; 32 channels of premier sports, talk, comedy, children's and entertainment programming; and more than 20 channels of the most advanced traffic and weather information for major metropolitan areas nationwide.

2/23/04

IRL starts season with only 18 cars   This AP article gives a preview of the upcoming season opener in Homestead.  Only 18 cars are slated to take the green flag and that includes 4 cars from Andretti Green Racing.  If not for that, they would be down to 16 cars, two less than the Champ Car World Series.  As Derrick Walker says in the article, there should be at least 36 open-wheel racers this year. The problem is: They're divided between two rival series. Champ Cars, which picked up the remains of CART, plans a 15-race season with at least 18 cars, including defending CART champion Paul Tracy.  For now, there's no sign of a reconciliation, which most believe is vital to rebuilding open-wheel racing to the popularity it once enjoyed.  "If we had one series, we would have about 36 cars," Walker said. "Thirty-six cars trying to get into any given race. That would be what we see in NASCAR. That would be a hell of a show. The Indy 500 would be what it used to be.  "That's the dilemma we have. We have two series. It needs to be one."

2/23/04

Chevy happy with Indy 500 plans   The IRL IndyCar® Series will switch from 3.5-liter engines to 3.0-liter engines starting at the Indianapolis 500 in May, and Chevrolet is on target with its plans for the new powerplant.

"The 3.0-liter engine program is on schedule," said Joe Negri, GM Racing IRL program manager. "All of the necessary components have been designed and are now being manufactured."

Chevrolet is one of the three engine suppliers for the series, along with Honda and Toyota. Negri said Chevrolet can currently field engines for six team and hopes to support up to 10 teams at Indianapolis. He said the marque could add another full-time team after the Indy 500.

"We will have prototype 3.0-liter Chevy Indy V8 engines running on the dyno in the near future," Negri said. "The IRL has given the manufacturers an additional day of private track testing with the 3.0-liter engines, and we are aiming to have a good supply of engines for the Open Test in Indianapolis in late April. Until then, we are using computer simulation to optimize engine tuning and to accelerate the development program."

2/23/04

LVMS almost sold out  Fewer than 1,000 tickets remain for the March 7 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  Track officials announced Monday that only a few hundred tickets remain for this year’s event.   “We simply want people to know that seats still are available for the race,” said Chris Powell, LVMS general manager. “Ticket sales this year have been as brisk as ever, and sometimes the perception in the public is that there is nothing available. There still is time to buy tickets.  “The great demand continues to reflect the strength of NASCAR racing in Las Vegas as well as the excellent overall experience that people enjoy when they come to here for a major motorsports event. There is no question that this year’s race weekend will provide the largest boom yet for our local economy.  “Additionally, we’re confident of breaking last year’s attendance mark for the Sam’s Town 300 Busch Series event on Saturday, March 6.”  Among the seats still available are handfuls in both the Dale Earnhardt Terrace, the new, 22,000-seat grandstand; and the Vegas Clubhouse, prime seats that allow guests to visit the speedway party rooms, enjoy buffet meals and have wait service at their seats.  To purchase tickets, fans can call the speedway’s ticket office at 1-800-644-4444 or log on to www.lvms.com.

2/23/04

Grand-Am hires former CART Communication Director  Grand American Road Racing Association announced today the appointment of veteran motorsports public relations professional Adam Saal to the position of Director of Communications. In his new role, Saal will manage all public relations and corporate communications for Grand American, the Rolex Sports Car Series and the Grand-Am Cup Series. Saal, who has managed in the past the public relations efforts for CART, IMSA, Indy Lights and the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, also served on an interim basis as the first public relations representative for Grand American in early 2000. "We are delighted to have Adam back on a fulltime basis," said Grand American President Roger Edmondson. "He played a key part in our successful debut four years ago, and I am sure we will benefit even more from his leadership, experience and professionalism now that he has joined us fulltime in Daytona Beach. Adam's experience in the sport and solid rapport with the national and international media make him an ideal fit on the Grand American team." Saal's appointment continues the expansion of Grand American's communications department. Last month, fourth-year Public Relations Manager Christie Hyde was joined by former Grand American intern Lauren McCrystal, who was appointed to the position of Public Relations Coordinator. The current team of three is the largest fulltime communications department to date for Grand American.

2/23/04

Shelby named Grand Marshal  Legendary driver and car builder Carroll Shelby will serve as Grand Marshal at the 52nd Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. America's oldest and most prestigious sports car race begins at 10:30 am on Saturday, March 20, and will open the 2004 American Le Mans Series season.   As a driver Shelby won numerous road racing events, highlighted by a victory at the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans. His stellar career includes a second place finish at Sebring in 1955, co-driving with Phil Hill.

As a car builder and team owner, Shelby achieved historic success with his Cobras, which won several GT victories at Sebring and other circuits around the world during the 1960s. In addition, his Shelby American racing team also engineered a historic win for Ford at the 1966 Sebring endurance classic, with Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby driving.

Shelby continues as a leading figure in the automotive industry. He will be inducted into the Sebring Sports Car Racing Hall of Fame on Friday, March 19, along with Stirling Moss, Mario Andretti, Bob and Al Holbert, Bobby Rahal and race official Ford Heacock, Sr.

 

"We are delighted to have a true living legend of motorsports serving as Grand Marshal," said Raceway President Tres Stephenson. "Carroll Shelby's achievements are remarkable, and we are honored to have him back at Sebring."

It was 40 years ago that Shelby Cobras recorded a historic GT class win at Sebring, trouncing Ferrari and taking fourth place overall with Bob Holbert and Dave MacDonald driving a Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe. The following year, Bob Bondurant and Jo Schlesser gave Shelby another GT class win at Sebring, helping Shelby win the GT Manufacturers World Championship. Shelby-built cars also won their class in 1963, 1966 and 1967. Shelby's potent form of the Mustang raced at Sebring as late as 1977. Since then he has continued to work as a consultant and builder of several other race cars.

The Sebring "Gallery of Legends" display in the paddock will feature several historic race cars from Sebring's past, including a rare Shelby Daytona Coupe.

2/23/04

Feedback on the next generation Champ Cars   UPDATE  Another reader writes, Although Mr. Kleine makes some good points, I think he's being overly simplistic with his size ideas. Champ Cars are already exponentially more difficult to work on than an IRL car because they are packaged so much tighter. It's easy to say "make it shorter and narrower" but Lola can't run their chassis through Photoshop to chop off a few inches here and there. And they don't have F1 budgets to work the miracles they do in F1. Since the switch to a normally aspirated V-10 will probably result in a longer engine block and the average driver is taller than Danica Patrick, a shorter chassis is probably never going to be feasible. The switch to gas seems inevitable, if only for the marketing/sponsorship advantage. That, combined with eliminating ground effects and the large sidepods could potentially result in a narrower car. I think that's far more important than wheelbase, anyway. If the dinky parking lot street courses are thrown out, there's no need for a shorter wheelbase.

Losing ground effects will come at a price one way or another. If you eliminate all that downforce and keep the sleek nature of the current chassis, the cars will be taking fast turns about the speed of a FF2000 and will probably be very unstable at speed and on ovals. If you make up for the lack of ground effects by utilizing every square inch of bodywork to generate downforce you'll end up with something exactly as ugly as a Formula One car and with an enormous wind tunnel bill to boot.

There's clearly no easy answer. Higher profile tires are probably a good idea. Weight reduction is definitely a good idea, but not at the expense of safety. And after all that, yes, I do have a point. As I've said before, the cars aren't necessarily the problem. Look at where the Champ Cars shine right now: fast tracks with room to pass. Driving around a parking lot because it's in a good market might be successful for a few years until fans get bored with it, but it will probably hurt the series in the long run, or at least alienate the real racing fans. Get the cars on good tracks. If they're not in this country, so be it. Do what you need to to get them at the Road Atlantas and Mosports. If the series manages to become hugely successful again, maybe we'll see more efforts in this country like Barber Motorsports Park, but for four wheels. Age Manocchia, Syracuse, NY  2/21/04 - The opposing view presented by Robert Kleine from Germany on our vision for the next generation Champ Car has produced quite a number of emails.  Here are a few:  Dear AutoRacing1.com, After reading the latest article about the next generation Champ Car I would like to put in my two cents worth. First, I think your vision of the next Champ Car is right on the money. Mr. Kleine had some very good points but I very much disagree with "cheap F1 clones". I think that if your ideas were implemented by OWRS it would quickly set the Champ Cars apart from F1 and the IRL. First, the Champ Cars run a much more diverse schedule than F1 and IRL. Second, you now have a car that requires a lot more skill to drive. Flat bottoms, no traction or launch control, standard chassis, tires, and a screaming 750HP V-10 would be real handful. Throw in standing starts and OWRS will have a winner on their hands. I personally think these cars would be far more exciting to watch than F1 or the oval cartel's crapwagons. I have a gut feeling OWRS has already figured this out. I see a bright future for the Champ Cars. Doug Parr  In the latest article about the next generation Champ Car the author forgets one thing. All open wheel cars were lengthened to protect the drivers legs in the case of a crash, specifically in a crash on a high speed oval. Therefore you cannot shorten the front end of the car. The air boxes though could be like the Lotus 78 where the intakes were on either side of the head or the Benetton F1 car that had the intake on either side of the cockpit.  Kelly O'Connor Altoona, Iowa  While I agree with you that Robert Kleine has missed your point completely on the next generation Champ Car, there is 1 thing I want to take issue with. Paddle shifters. The problem with the modern day F1 car is that all the high tech stuff, traction control, anti-lock brakes, paddle shifters etc. eliminates the opportunities for the driver to make mistakes. This produces boring racing with no passing. Contrast this with NASCAR where the dopey drivers make mistakes all the time (even just getting into the pits under green) and their competitors take advantage of it. Aerodynamics and high tech have just about destroyed the racing series where they have been allowed free reign. It is not a coincidence that NASCAR is the lowest tech AND fastest growing racing series in the world. Science takes the people out of the sport and fans relate to people not computers. The next generation Champ Car should have; A) Minimum aerodynamic assistance. Give it just enough downforce so it won't fly at 220 MPH and mandate a minimum amount of suspension travel so the tracks don't have to be billiard table smooth. B) NO electronic driver aids such as traction control, anti-lock braking, active suspension and no electronic communication between gearbox and engine. C) a good old fashioned H pattern shifter with a clutch pedal so that drivers have to do things like double clutch and heel and toe downshift. Yes I know they'll miss a shift occasionally. That's called driver error and we have to bring those back in order to bring the racing back. Part of being a racing driver should be working 3 pedals with 2 feet with 1 hand on the wheel and 1 hand on the shift lever. Part of being a team owner is paying for the damage when the driver makes a mistake and overrevs it. Anyway the engines are going to be rev limited to control costs, how much damage can a missed shift do? Next let's discuss putting the excitement back into Champ Car pit stops. Hint; it involves getting the guys up off their knees in the pit box and making them move around. Great site, keep up the good work- Gary Stratton 

2/23/04

Moving day in Indy for Fernández   Fernández Racing and Super Aguri Fernández Racing will see some of their busy off-season preparations come to fruition today with a move into a brand-new facility in Indianapolis.   Construction on the 27,000 sq. ft. race shop – more than double the teams’ previous workspace – began last fall. Moving day, however, will not involve a lot of travel miles as the new building is located directly across the street from the teams’ former base. An Open House will be planned in the upcoming months.
New Address:
Fernández Racing/Super Aguri Fernández Racing
6835 Guion Road
Indianapolis, IN 46268
Phone and fax numbers remain unchanged:
(317) 299-5100
(317) 280-3051 Fax
For additional information on Fernández Racing and Super Aguri Fernández Racing, please visit http://www.fernandezracing.net and http://www.superagurifernandezracing.net.

2/23/04
Industry News

Lime Rock launches new website  If you haven’t visited www.limerock.com recently you should. Lime Rock Park’s official website has been renovated, remodeled, reconditioned, refreshed and refurbished. In short, it’s totally different. The site is the one source for anything you need to know about the Road Racing Center of the East, and the new www.limerock.com has more information than ever. Fans will find more spectator information, more contact information, how they can become a part of our team through the Lime Rock Race Club and how to sign up to get the Track Record, our four-color, 16-page newsletter. The new www.limerock.com is also easier to navigate, too. The six category listings at the top of the page feature drop down menus that give you instant access to every page. And some of the most important information, such as how to buy tickets, how to get to Lime Rock and the current weather, is right on the home page. Fans can also find the latest news about Lime Rock and information pertaining to the race series that will be competing at the track. The site was designed by New Wave Industries, Inc., which is based in Newington, Conn. New Wave Industries is a technology solutions provider with a wide variety of services, including website design, programming, internet access, multi-media services, software development, mini CDs and kiosk development. You can’t learn more about Lime Rock Park anywhere else. So when you’re surfing the Web, check out the new www.limerock.com.

2/23/04

Waltrip keeping the hatch  NASCAR's investigation after the Daytona 500 of Michael Waltrip's battered stock car revealed that the roof escape hatch, while bent, held firm. The team said Waltrip, who at 6-foot-5 is the tallest Nextel Cup driver, will continue to use the escape hatch design on his car. Waltrip's #15 NAPA Chevy went into a tight barrel roll, flipping at least three times, on the back straightaway in the first half of the 500 and came to rest on its roof on the infield grass. The roof hatch "bowed" according the Waltrip's crew chief Slugger Labbe, but the structure remained intact. "The flip he took, he landed on the right front corner of the roof and it pushed the halo over to the left and the roll cage shrunk on the top, so to speak, and the roof hatch was the weakest point and it bowed in a little bit," Labbe said. "The pins still released and everything. The pins did their job but the roof hatch was caved in but that was probably one of the worst flips you will ever see." The battered car was shipped directly from Daytona International Speedway to the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, NC, for study. Gary Nelson, managing director of the R&D facility, said the car was inspected Tuesday and Wednesday by NASCAR engineers then released to Labbe Thursday morning. "The whole top was crumpled and bent but the integrity of the escape hatch were still there," Nelson said. "The hinges were still connected to all the parts which is what we look at. We haven't found that any of the systems were compromised," Nelson said. "None of the systems had gone bad. None of the systems, such as roll bars, driver restraints, any of the things designed to protect the driver, were compromised." Waltrip was pinned in his car for several minutes but Labbe said his movement was not limited by the bent roof hatch. Waltrip's car won't be heading to the junkyard. Teresa Earnhardt, who owns Dale Earnhardt Inc., said the stock car would be put on display in the Earnhardt Museum, located at the massive DEI race shop near Charlotte, NC.Mooresville Daytona Beach News Journal

2/23/04

Ganassi says he was robbed  They were lined up behind the NASCAR hauler before Sunday's Subway 400 had even concluded at North Carolina Speedway. Ganassi Racing owners Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates staked out a position at the entrance, and were soon joined by Donnie Wingo, crew chief for driver Jamie McMurray, and team manager Andy Graves. They were there to protest the win of #17-Matt Kenseth, claiming Kenseth and second-place finisher #9-Kasey Kahne were not on the lead lap and McMurray, who was third, should have been the winner. Ganassi and Sabates contended when Kenseth and Kahne pitted under green on Lap 350 and a caution then came out, they should have been scored a lap down. Rather, NASCAR corrected the scoring and put them back on the lead lap. When the other lead-lap cars then pitted, Kenseth and Kahne moved into the first and second positions for the final restart. McMurray, who was the race leader when the caution came out, restarted third. "We just got robbed in front of a 100,000 people," Ganassi said. "Even if you say they froze the field, we had (Kenseth) and (Kahne) split and should have been no better than second. They come in the pits and then it goes yellow, and then we go in the pits as the race leader and come out third. How does that work?"  While the Ganassi group waited for NASCAR officials to return from race control, driver Mark Martin joined them. He, along with car owner Jack Roush, were summoned to the hauler because NASCAR felt Martin, a lapped car, was blocking the race leaders on the final restart of the race. Strangely enough, one of the drivers Martin was racing in the incident was McMurray. So, when Martin arrived, he and Sabates got into a brief profanity-laced exchange before they all went up in the hauler. Roush, meanwhile, was still celebrating Kenseth's win in Victory Lane, and didn't join the group until much later. After nearly 40 minutes, Ganassi and Sabates came out declaring NASCAR was not going to change its decision, but emphasizing their belief McMurray was the winner. "There was no explanation. There was no reviewing (of tape). Nothing," Sabates said. "Sometimes you win, sometimes you get the shaft and sometimes you get the elevator. We got the shaft this time." And what of NASCAR's explanation? "Now that we don't race back to the yellow, when the yellow comes out, all the positions are frozen. It was our determination in timing and scoring (Kenseth) and (Kahne) were still on the lead lap when the caution came out. We gave them what they lost when the pace car went by them and gave them that lap back." The reasoning didn't sit well with the Ganassi group, who left frustrated and angry. And Martin didn't appear particularly satisfied with his visit either when he finally emerged from the hauler. "I'm disappointed because the people in the sport know I have a lot of integrity," he said. "I watched it on the tape and I didn't see anything. I was racing and wasn't in anybody's way." ThatsRacin.com

2/23/04

Ecclestone crashes and burns again   Once thought infallible, F1 Supremo Bernie Ecclestone is starting to show he's not.  Hot on the heels of his failed digital TV deal comes word Bernie Ecclestone has crashed and burned out of the publishing business as well.  Ecclestone has closed his monthly magazine, EuroBusiness, marking the end of his mini-publishing empire. He shut his other publication, the glossy F1 magazine, earlier this month.

EuroBusiness staff were told as they were going to press on Monday that it would be the last issue. Mr. Ecclestone has been trying to sell the magazine, which had a print run of 80,000, for some months. The Barclay brothers, who are trying to take control of The Telegraph, made an offer but withdrew just before Christmas.

Another bid was tabled in the last few days, but it is understood Mr. Ecclestone turned it down because it would not assume all the magazine's liabilities. The title employed eight full-time staff, as well as freelancers.

He has retained the rights to the title but does not think it profitable enough to continue publishing. Its total debt of less than £1m is thought to be almost matched by the money owed to the company. Mr. Ecclestone funded the £4m launch of EuroBusiness in 1999 to coincide with the launch of the European single currency. It aimed for a circulation of 110,000.

The news that Mr. Ecclestone has closed his F1 magazine comes just two weeks before the start of the Formula One season. The glossy monthly title was thought to have cost over £200,000 an issue to produce. However, it suffered from the downturn in the market for F1 sponsorship.

2/23/04

Daytona penalties doled out  Crew chief Jimmy Fennig was fined $20,000 by NASCAR for weights improperly attached to a bar reinforcing the rear bumper on the #97 Ford entered for driver Kurt Busch for the Daytona 500. The fine against Fennig was the highest announced Saturday by NASCAR officials, who penalized a total of eight crew chiefs and two drivers for infractions at Daytona. NASCAR said it found pellets that were, in its judgment, added for the purpose of increasing the weight of the rear bumper cover on the #97 Sharpie Ford.
Ken Francis, crew chef for the #91 Dodge Bill Elliott drove in the Bud Shootout, was fined $5,000 for a non-approved rear deck lid.
Other penalties assessed were:

  • $500 for Anthony Gibson, crew chief on the #1 Maxwell House/Post Chevy of John Andretti, for an unapproved air directional device and another $500 for a gap in the rear coil spring that did not meet specifications.

  • $500 for Mike Hillman, crew chief for Derrike Cope's #50 Dodge, for an air filter housing that had more than two holes drilled in the bottom.

  • $500 for Greg Zipadelli, #20-Tony Stewart's crew chief, and Ben Leslie, #21-Ricky Rudd's crew chief, for using adjustable fender braces.

  • $500 for Greg Steadman, crew chief for #45-Kyle Petty, and Gary Putnam, crew chief for #43-Jeff Green, for use of unapproved air directional devices.

  • $500 for drivers #2-Rusty Wallace and #72-Kirk Shelmerdine for using head-and-neck restraint devices on which manufacturer's dates had expired.  ThatsRacin.com

2/23/04

NASCAR costs through the roof  This Winston-Salem Journal article says, Sterling Marlin just shook his head: "A set of pistons used to cost $2,000. Now a set costs $7,000, because we're all going to lighter-weight stuff.  "Rocker arms used to be $1,200 to $1,500 a set; they're $7,000 a set now, and you can't run 'em but one race. For higher RPM.  "If they want to see racing survive, somebody has to sit up and take notice. We just can't keep going like this... or next year rocker arms will be $12,000 a set. Somewhere, it's got to stop."  It's the story this season throughout the NASCAR garage, with team owners crying the blues. Those that are still around, at least.  Richard Childress agrees with Marlin that the RPM race has gone too far: "These engines have gotten totally out of hand, and RPM are dollars, with all the light pieces we're using in the engines. A set of valve springs might once have cost $250, now they're $1,250 or more. Our engines are costing a hell of a lot more today than five years ago."  Several veteran owners have simply called it quits, some with a smile of relief after cashing in their chips.  Jim Smith is skipping Rockingham and is rethinking plans to run Las Vegas. Bill Davis has had to lay off people from Dave Blaney's team and halt that operation for a while. Even Dale Earnhardt Inc. is only hanging on to its third team by a thread, without a sponsor.  "I'd hate to be a car owner, ain't no way, no way in the world," Marlin said.  It is the age-old racing question - how to cut costs. [Editor's note:  Look for this to lead NASCAR to come up with a spec engine to go along with their spec bodies.  Whether they rename the series to IROC remains to be seen.]

 

On the technical front, these are some ideas being bandied about the garage for France to consider:

• Cutting back on the number of body templates and curbing the repeated, costly changes. Childress has budgeted an unexpected $300,000 more per team already this year for new body rules. "When you've got five race teams," Childress said, "that's a hell of a lot more money to have to find."

• Rationing tires, Jeff Burton suggests, as NASCAR does with the Busch tour. "We've put in an extra $300,000 per team for tires right off the bat, based on what we saw when testing Vegas," Childress said. "Our tire bill at Daytona was a lot higher this year than last year."

• Putting major limits on engine parts and high RPM technology. "I know NASCAR is looking at some ways to address it," Childress said. "But we're at 9,700 RPM right now, and when you run that much, just about everything you take out of the engine after a race has to be thrown away." Jack Roush and others are already at 10,000.

One driver raised an even more dramatic cost-cutting option - that NASCAR issue full-shell molded bodies, registered and numbered the way NAS-CAR does with car noses and tails. "With a $1 million fine for any alterations."

2/23/04

Pioneer renews with Jaguar   Pioneer Europe NV is today pleased to announce it is a major partner of Jaguar Racing for the 2004 Formula One Season. Pioneer partnered with Jaguar Racing in the 2003 Formula One series and has supported the team with expertise and innovation to compliment the already technically advanced Formula One environment. Marnix Somers, Director, Consumer Plasma Division, Pioneer Europe NV, said, "Formula One and Pioneer have many rational and emotional values in common. They stand for internationality, innovative power, expertise and an exacting, almost perfectionist, quality standard. Pioneer's involvement has a dual function that includes extending the awareness for the brand through global image building activities, as well as opening up innovative marketing channels. Pioneer is pleased to be supporting the Jaguar Racing team and look forward to working together over the seasons to come. The ultimate fast sport and the ultimate up-to-the-minute stylish technology - a perfect match. Our expectation is that this partnership will play a particularly important role in extending Pioneer's brand image, as the 2004 Formula One World Championship Series run not only in Europe, but also in Australia, Malaysia, Canada, USA, Japan, China and Brazil, where Pioneer has a presence." David Pitchforth, Managing Director, Jaguar Racing, said, "We are delighted that Pioneer has extended its relationship with us. We have worked very productively over the last six months and our mutual passion for technological leadership is parallel to Jaguar's goal of challenging for top honors in the long term. Jaguar Racing is aiming to be a world class technology company with the best in class engineering capability and Pioneer's support alongside us will help accelerate this process."

2/23/04

NASCAR drivers warned  NASCAR drivers have been warned to cut down on swearing during interviews by the sport’s executives, in a bid to protect its image. Mike Helton, president of NASCAR, addressed drivers prior to this weekend’s races and reminded them that the wide demographic which has made the sport such a success could be damaged by two much cursing. Helton told the drivers: “When being interviewed, please understand you are talking to an audience from 8 to 80 years old. “You have a greater responsibility than we've ever had before.''

2/23/04

Latest F1 news in brief  

Ferrari Set For Head-To-Head Test
France Ramps-Up F1 Assault
Renault's Multi-Million Spanish Deal
Stoddart Predicts Title To Topple
Williams 'Play Hardball' With Schumacher
BAR's In Trouble
Montoya, Kimi, Forecast Gloom For Schu
Union Threatens F1 Season-Opener
Pantano: I'm Not Ready For F1 Limit
Bridgestone Vow Catch-Up In Tire War
McLaren Boss To Attend NASCAR Race
Iceman Predicts Zero Points
Ferrari's Run To End In 2004: Button
Renault Lose Start-Line Advantage
Nearly Lost Control: F1 News Shorts
Alonso: Don't Gamble Much On Me
Don't Be Fooled: F1 News Shorts

2/22/04

Schumacher slams Williams   Ralf Schumacher has hit out at Williams boss Frank Williams after the apparent stalling of his contract negotiations with the Formula One team.   Schumacher is angry that the deal has not been finalized and has accused Williams of suddenly retracting a new contract that was all set to be signed.  “Even if me and my manager Willi Weber would find it hard to leave behind our friends at BMW, there’s a chance it could happen,” Schumacher told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.  “It would be sad but I can’t allow myself to be treated like that that by Williams.  I’m not frustrated,” he continued. “But I find it hard to understand certain things that have happened these past few months.”

Schumacher also claims that Williams have accused him of only being interested in the money.  “Frank Williams says I’m nothing but a money-grabber. I can only laugh at that. He knows that I would accept to cut my current salary in half,” added Schumacher.

Schumacher revealed he was furious when Williams failed to turn up to sign a new contract last year.  “I wanted to sign. We scheduled a meeting for the final race of the season in Japan but Frank Williams wasn’t there and then he suddenly pulled the offer.  On a human level I’m very disappointed with him.”  Sky Sports

2/22/04

Bahrain praised by world media   International broadcast and print media were singing praise of Bahrain's Formula One preparations a day after the F1 Fever gripped the Kingdom. Large media delegations including teams from CNN, LBC, Reuters TV, MBC, ART, Heya and Future TV were present at the King Faisal Highway on Thursday afternoon to see Sauber Petronas test driver Neel Jani race in a C22 car.

Thursday's events were reported by more than 100 TV stations world wide and attracted more than 20,000 spectators, according to a Press release from the Bahrain International Circuit which hosts the Gulf Air Grand Prix on April 4, the first of its kind in the Middle East.

Future TV's Formula One presenter Marwan Rassi and Art's Ayman Abdul Wahid were very impressed with the spectator turn out. Firas Nimri, of Sport Auto, the leading motor sporting magazine in the region, was also present to witness this memorable event.

Bahrain Arabic Radio transmitted the entire event live. "Today I realized that Bahrain has more motor sporting fans than any other sport. The attendance was phenomenal and unexpected," said one of the journalists.

Karin Salama, Future TV presenter famous for hosting the 'Hala February' festival in Kuwait was the official MC for the event.

More than 50 publications from around the region attended the event and experienced the sound, smell and feel of a Formula One car.

"The F1 Fever event which only had one car made Bahrain an international vocal point. The experience we created will be unforgettable for everyone present and the image of the Sauber Petronas car speeding on the roads of Manama will be remembered forever," said BIC chairman Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa.

2/22/04

Malaysia preparations are in full swing   Preparations for next month’s Formula One Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang F1 Circuit has gone full swing with the race track officially being closed yesterday.   In a statement here yesterday, Sepang International Circuit (SIC) general manager Ahmad Mustafa said only preparatory activities related to the F1 race were allowed on the track.   “It is going to be very busy at the track from today especially with the setting up of the tents and canopies for the television and telecommunication crews,” said Ahmad who is also the event director for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

2/22/04
Industry News

Ganassi no longer on Pittsburgh Pirates board  The Pirates confirmed Thursday that the club's board of directors no longer includes racing giant Chip Ganassi and a North Carolina businessman.   Ganassi of Fox Chapel, who leads racing teams on the NASCAR and Indy Racing League circuits said he would continue to go to games, but that the time was right to cash in.   "We got involved before because it was an opportunity to try and keep the team in Pittsburgh," said Ganassi. "We did that. Now, it's time for the ownership group to get on with the business of running a team."

2/22/04

Olvey and Trammell not renewed by OWRS 2nd UPDATE This SPEED TV article has quotes from Olvey, Trammell and Gentilozzi and pretty much tells all sides of the story.  Champ Car's new medical director, Dr. Chris Pinderski, has worked side-by-side with Olvey and Trammell for 10 years at CART events. 2/21/04 - AutoRacing1.com has learned that Dr. Trammell will be back with Champ Car.  From what we now understand, only Dr. Olvey will not be retained.  2/21/04 -   [Editor's Note:  There is more to this story than what is being told here, and it's probably not what you think.  We have been aware of this situation for a few weeks and were awaiting an official announcement from OWRS.  We can tell you that Champ Car has a long list of military trauma and emergency doctors from which to pick from who have the necessary experience to treat crash victims.   It's too bad that the likeable Olvey and Trammell will not be back with Champ Car, but as they say, no one is irreplaceable.  One can assume the drivers, if injured, would use Olvey and Trammell to treat their injuries at the hospital or afterwards, but at the track we will see new doctors in 2004.] This Reuters article says, The two doctors who saved Italian driver Alex Zanardi's life in 2001 as part of the Champ Car safety team have not been retained to provide medical care by the CART series' new owners Open Wheel Racing Series (OWRS).  Dr Stephen Olvey, a professor and director of the Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital/University of Miami, will no longer be involved with the series, which opens in Long Beach, California on April 18.  Dr Terry Trammell, an orthopedic surgeon based in Indianapolis, will continue to work for the series but only in an advisory role related to 2005 chassis design.  "After 22 years neither myself nor Terry will be providing medical care at the race track this year," said Olvey, who established the CART safety team that eventually included a mobile medical unit to provide on-the-scene medical care.  Their work paralleled the medical support provided by Dr Sid Watkins in Formula One.

Former CART champion Zanardi, who has also driven in Formula One for Lotus and Williams, survived a near fatal high speed crash at the Lausitzring, Germany in September, 2001 but lost two liters of blood and had to have both legs amputated.  Zanardi told Reuters by phone: "I can't imagine two doctors with not only the experience but the passion for the sport. I wouldn't be talking to you today if it were not for them."  Late last year Olvey had discussions with one of the three OWRS principals about continuing to work for the series on a cost reduction basis but recently was told by e-mail that his contract would not be renewed as it previously existed.  An OWRS spokesman declined to comment.  CART, which began racing in 1979, became a public company in 1998 but filed for bankruptcy last year after its shares plummeted. In January a federal bankruptcy judge awarded the assets of the bankrupt CART series to OWRS.

2/22/04

Ferrari continues testing this weekend   With off and on rain all day, the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team tested at the Mugello circuit on Saturday. Rubens Barrichello took to the track at the wheel of an F2004. The day’s program centered on development of the new car.  Barrichello completed a total of 57 laps (3 on the short version of the track,) with a quickest time of 1:25.842.  The Scuderia continues testing today, with Rubens Barrichello driving.

2/22/04

Labor dispute in Australia could threaten race   The assistant secretary for the ASU (Australian Services Union), Michael Rizzo has confirmed that electrical workers are threatening to refuse service to this year's Australian Grand Prix up to and including the race.

"Our bans may impact on the grand prix and its preparations," Mr Rizzo said. "Our bans say if there are power disconnections, we may not put them on again. Unfortunately the nature of these bans is other people are affected. It might be unfair, but the alternative is for us to do nothing. If you are going to make an impact, it is an unfortunate by-product that you are going to impact on people.”

Threats similar to these have been made in previous years, however everything is normally ironed out well ahead of the race weekend and Ron Walker, the GP organizer, is unconcerned.
"There are many parts to the GP, so there are many unions that could singularly bring the Grand Prix to a halt, but it's never happened before," he told the ABC. "The unions are normally very co-operative and work very hard for all the things we do, so I don't expect it to happen."

2/22/04

Andretti still not happy with Stewart  According to this AP article, After Tony Stewart publicly blamed John Andretti for causing two on-track incidents during practice at Daytona last week, he sought out Andretti at Rockingham. The two Hoosier drivers sat on the pit wall and talked for several minutes, but Andretti said afterward that he's still upset. Andretti said he was mad that Stewart made derogatory comments in public before having a private talk. And he thinks any apology should have been as public as the criticism. "Everybody can say, 'Well that's Tony,' " Andretti said, "but when I have a family and kids that are old enough to understand, it's not good enough to come up and talk to me on pit wall."

2/22/04

CART/IRL TV rating plummet   This page from the July 1996 issue of Racer magazine shows what the CART and IRL TV ratings were at the time of the split in 1995/1996.  Compare them to what they are today.  For example, in 1995, the year before the split, CART garnered a 3.1 rating for its Phoenix race and the CART Indy 500 that year garnered an 8.4 rating.  The split killed the sport and the ratings.  Tony George has to look at the 8.4 rating that CART got him for his 1995 Indy 500 and realize he has just about destroyed his prize possession (rating now down to 4.8 with the IRL racing at Indy and falling.....)  What's pathetic about the entire situation is how CART has been made out to be this evil empire when the fact of the matter they were delivering good TV ratings and attendance before the split.  Then Tony George created the IRL and killed a good thing.  If he was the President of a public corporation he would have been fired a long time ago.

2/21/04

Earnhardt wins fuels Conspiracy Theory debate  This LA Times article talks about the recent Daytona 500 win by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the fuel it adds to the Conspiracy Theory.  Some have believed for years that NASCAR occurrences are sometimes just too perfect to be real.........One former car owner, whose cars won in Winston Cup racing, claimed that, from time to time, teams would get "the call," word from NASCAR headquarters that in a selected race or two, their cars would not receive the same stringent inspection as the others. In other words, they could beef up the size of their engines without fear of reprisal. The reasoning was that NASCAR believed that if certain teams, or drivers, won, it would be good for the sport. After all, as one racing publicist said, "It is show business, you know."  How about Dodge's first Winston Cup start.  It was Daytona and in their very first race, Dodge won both front-row spots.  When the green flag dropped for the race they fell back through the field like lead sinkers through water.

2/21/04

NASCAR eyes Portland, Seattle  This AP article says, NASCAR, the nation's fastest-growing sport, could be headed to the Northwest.   But it's not yet clear whether a proposed 80,000 seat racetrack will be built in Portland or Seattle, or somewhere in between.

International Speedway Corp., which owns Daytona International Speedway and 11 other tracks that host NASCAR events, is scouting for 500- to 1,000-acre sites in Oregon and Washington on which to build a $200 million-plus facility that could hold Nextel Cup, Busch series, Craftsman Truck series and perhaps Indy Racing League events.

"One (Nextel Cup) event could mean $200 million in economic impact," said ISC spokesman David Talley. "It would be like bringing in two Super Bowls. I mean, wherever we go, that area is going to benefit greatly in terms of economic impact."   Still, fans who want tickets for a Seattle-area Cup race or a Portland-area Cup race will have to wait.

"Even if we broke ground today, you wouldn't see anything until 2006," Talley said, noting 2008 was more likely. "We're in the very early stages of the process."  While Oregon is just now mounting an effort to land NASCAR, the state of Washington is the clear frontrunner.

For example, a delegation of state officials that included Lt. Gov. Brad Owen attended last week's Daytona 500.   The Oregon Sports Authority held an invitation-only informational meeting Tuesday at the Multnomah Athletic Club to discuss a potential racetrack with representatives from ISC.   "They made it very clear they want a speedway in the Northwest," said Drew Mahalic of the OSA. "Basically, they're looking to see where it makes the most sense, Oregon or Washington

There were city of Portland representatives at Tuesday's meeting, but Portland mayor Vera Katz and parks commissioner Jim Francesconi, a mayoral candidate, did not attend.   Mahalic said it's still early in the game. He said a committee will be forming "in the next few weeks" to identify potential sites and get various political officials on board.

2/21/04

Panoz Esperante makes track debut  The new Panoz Esperante GT-LM American Le Mans Series race car, built by Elan Motorsports Technologies (EMT), turned its maiden laps Thursday and Friday in a testing session at Road Atlanta.   The car was built to race later this year in the GT class of the American Le Mans Series, which opens its 2004 campaign with the 52nd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Mar. 17-20 at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway.  More.....

2/21/04

NASCAR and Nextel to unveil all-star race details  Officials of NASCAR, Nextel and Lowe's Motor Speedway will unveil the format and other details concerning the 20th running of the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge during a news conference Tuesday, Feb. 24, in The Speedway Club at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, the most exciting all-star event in professional sports, will be contested under the lights at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Saturday night, May 22.

2/21/04

Williams BMW concludes 3-day test in Valencia  The BMW WilliamsF1 Team concluded a three day test at Valencia today having covered over 1,700 kilometers and headed the timesheets on two out of the three days.

Both Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya were on hand to perform testing duties, Juan running on Wednesday and Thursday and Ralf on Thursday and Friday. The team’s official test driver, Marc Gené, was also present to assist with the team’s testing program.

Despite heavy rain hampering today’s session, the team worked through an extensive job list over the three days, including set-up work, traction control routines and systems checks on the FW26. All three drivers also carried out tyre construction testing with Michelin in preparation for the opening round of the Championship in Melbourne on March 7th.

Sam Michael (Chief Operations Engineer, WilliamsF1):
“For the penultimate test before the start of the season, Juan, Ralf and Marc shared testing responsibilities. Over the three days, the drivers have worked through a lengthy programme in order to prepare the FW26 for its debut in Melbourne."

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director):
"Just before bad weather hampered the test programme on Friday, the BMW P84 engine successfully completed another race simulation. The engine specification used will be the one we have in Melbourne so we should be well prepared for the season's opener. Next week, we will spend the final, pre-season test in Imola fine tuning the P84." The BMW WilliamsF1 Team will travel to Imola next week for a three day test commencing on Tuesday 24th February.  Williams BMW

2/21/04

Renault renews with Telefonica  The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team Friday announced a multi-year partnership agreement with Spanish telecommunications group Telefonica. The Renault F1 R24 will feature 'Telefonica' branding beginning at the Australian Grand Prix.

"It is a good boost for the team to welcome Telefonica on-board just before the start of the season," commented managing director Flavio Briatore. "Renault is a team with a strong international profile, and it is therefore a significant step for us to welcome a major Spanish company such as Telefonica as our partner.

"We have had an extremely successful winter on the commercial front: this new partnership marks the eighth new commercial agreement we have signed for 2004. Our testing pace has been promising, and we look forward to successful seasons ahead."

2/20/04

Ralf fastest in very wet Spain  Ralf Schumacher was fastest of the five drivers who stayed on in Valencia for the final day of the four-day test in Spain. Heavy rain rendered the circuit undriveable.
F1 testing Valencia day four (unofficial)
Pos Driver Car Time Laps
1 Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW M 1m36.966s 27
2 Marc Gene Williams-BMW M 1m36.828s 27
3 Ryan Briscoe Toyota M 1m41.939s 5
4 Ricardo Zonta Toyota M 1m43.258s 13
5 Takuma Sato BAR-Honda M no time 1

2/20/04

Earnhardt Jr. busy man after Daytona 500 win  For Dale Earnhardt Jr., there are more perks to his Daytona 500 victory than hoisting the Harley J. Earl trophy or cashing his $1.4 million winner's check. Following car induction ceremonies at DAYTONA USA - the "Official Attraction of NASCAR" -- and his victory in the rain-delayed Hershey's Kisses 300 NASCAR Busch Series race, Earnhardt Jr. began a long list of responsibilities that comes with being the champion of NASCAR's biggest, richest and most prestigious race - the Daytona 500.

On Monday afternoon, Earnhardt Jr. appeared via satellite with numerous media outlets including MSNBC, ESPN and "Inside NEXTEL Cup" before flying to New York City. On Tuesday, Earnhardt Jr. made appearances on "The Today Show," "Live with Regis and Kelly," "The Late Show with David Letterman" and CNN as well as meeting with the New York City media. On the "Late Show with David Letterman," Earnhardt Jr. showed Letterman how to parallel park and then turned doughnuts in a Corvette on 53rd Street.

Said Earnhardt Jr. about his hectic schedule: "I've always been pretty satisfied with the exposure I've gotten and yeah, maybe there is a point where there's too much and we're overdoing it. But I did win the Daytona 500. I know people want to hear what I think about that. So I'm cool with it all the things we're doing. It's been pretty busy. I haven't had a whole lot of sleep. That's probably been the main thing. If I had been a little bit more aware of how much rest I would have needed, I probably would have taken a little more care in getting it. But it's been fun."

2/20/04

Gil de Ferran named Grand Marshal  Reigning Indianapolis 500 Champion and recently retired Indy Racing League IndyCar Series racing legend Gil de Ferran, has been named Grand Marshal for the season-opening Toyota Indy 300, on Sunday, February 29 at 2 pm (ESPN) at the NEW Homestead-Miami Speedway. As Grand Marshal, the two-time National Champion will give the most famous words in racing: "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines."

"It's really a great honor for me to be invited as the Grand Marshal for such a big event here in South Florida," said de Ferran. "I have strong connections with Homestead-Miami Speedway, with the South Florida community, and with Toyota being that they gave me my first Indianapolis 500 win and I gave them their first Indianapolis 500 win."

De Ferran, who retired at the end of the 2003 season after an illustrious racing career that included National Championships in 2000 and 2001, holds the World Closed Course Speed Record with a lap of 241.428 mph. He left the sport in dramatic fashion winning the 2003 Indianapolis 500 and finishing second in the IndyCar Series point standings with Toyota power. Race fans will have the opportunity to pay tribute to de Ferran during pre-race ceremonies at the Toyota Indy 300.

"We're thrilled to have Gil de Ferran, one of the greatest drivers in the history of open-wheel racing and a South Florida neighbor of ours, serve as Grand Marshal for the Toyota Indy 300," said Curtis Gray, President Homestead-Miami Speedway. "We encourage race fans to come out to the Speedway and recognize Gil who went out on the top of his sport, retiring after a successful 2003 highlighted by his Indianapolis 500 victory."

2/20/04

Rocketsports to participate at Convergence 2004   Rocketsports Racing engineers, Randy Gibson and John Gentilozzi, will speak to Michigan State University students at the Convergence 2004 on Saturday, February 21 from 9 AM - 2 PM at the Communication Arts and Sciences Building on the MSU campus. The two engineers, both MSU Alumni, will provide students with first-hand insight into the technology, communication, business and team work required on a professional open-wheel racing team. Photo caption: Rocketsports Engineers Randy Gibson and John Gentilozzi.  LAT Photography.

The third annual Convergence is a forum designed to encourage networking and communication between mid-Michigan businesses and emerging professionals. The event is presented by ASCOT (Associated Students for Career Orientation in Telecommunication) and strongly supported by Rocketsports team owner and Champ Car World Series partner, Paul Gentilozzi.

Gentilozzi earned his MBA from MSU and operates one of the largest commercial real estate businesses in the mid-Michigan area. Gentilozzi pursued his passion for racing and formed Rocketsports in 1985. In addition to producing road-racing engines and chassis, the Lansing-based organization runs a multi car team in the Motorock Trans-Am Tour, and the No. 33 Johnson Controls Ford-Cosworth Lola in the Champ Car World Series.

Rocketsports’ primary sponsor, Johnson Controls, will transport the No. 33 Johnson Controls open-wheel show car to the MSU campus to give students at the Convergence 2004 a glimpse of the impressive land rocket.

Convergence 2004 is expected to attract over 250 young professionals to the event this year. Admission to Convergence 2004 is not limited to MSU students. There is no cost to attend the program. For more information about the event and participating companies please visit www.convergence2k4.com.

2/20/04
Formula BMW

Formula BMW USA on track and testing   Three more significant steps towards the inaugural Formula BMW USA Championship took place as in recent days the very first FB2 to arrive in the States began its testing program and BMW of North America, LLC announced Rounds Two and Three would take place in support of the Canadian and United States Grands Prix in June.

"Formula BMW USA is now literally on-track in the United States," said Formula BMW USA Manager Alex Schmuck. "Testing to familiarize ourselves with the cars has begun and what a summer it will be. For most of our young competitors Formula BMW USA will be the opening act of their open wheel careers and BMW has put them right on center stage in support of the only two Formula One races in North America. If your goal is the Formula One World Championship you do not have to look far from Formula BMW USA."

Under the direction of Series Coordinator and Engineer Louis D'Agostino, development driver Oswaldo Negri Jr. completed more than 250 miles of testing over three days at both Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla. and Moroso Motorsports Park in West Palm Beach, Fla.

"The FB2 drives very much like an F-3 car and is surprisingly quick," said open-wheel veteran Negri. "The car is extremely nimble and allows you to carry a great deal of speed into a corner. I love the sound of the BMW engine. The FB2 is an incredible junior formula car."

 

"The Sebring test was important as we wanted to assure ourselves that the FB2's suspension would be compliant enough for the rougher surfaces of North American circuits," said D'Agostino. " We completed more than 150 miles and were pleased that we were able to run quite a low ground clearance and maintain good grip even over Sebring's uneven concrete. Moroso is considered to have a low-grip surface and the FB2 performed equally well. We also spent time there acquainting ourselves with the car's multi-channel data acquisition system. It is quite comprehensive and will be a great asset to our teams as well as quite a learning experience for our newer drivers."

"You have a high expectation of any car with a Roundel (the blue and white BMW emblem) on its nose and even more so with a BMW racing car," added D'Agostino. "Even with the bar set high, the FB2 impressed all of us. It is balanced, fast and precise. Everything you expect from a racing machine."

Formula BMW USA will open its season at Lime Rock Park on May 27-31, followed by back-to-back weekends in support of the Canadian and United States Grands Prix on June 11-13 and 18-20 respectively.

2/20/04

Garden State opens Hall doors for Champ Car icon   Recently retired Chief Steward Wally Dallenbach Sr. is as much a staple in the Champ Car World Series as the familiar howl of a turbocharged V8 engine that has defined the series for so many great years. For his efforts in the sport of Champ Car racing as a pioneer, a driver and a governing figure, the Sports Hall of Fame of New Jersey recently announced Dallenbach as one of eight sports legends to be honored in their 12th class of inductees this fall.

As a driver, the East Brunswick, New Jersey native raced Champ Cars for 14 years before retiring from the cockpit to become one of the series’ first employees when the sanctioning body was formed in the late 1970s. He drove in 180 Champ Car races from 1965-1979, winning five times in his career.

Dallenbach joined Champ Car as Competition Director in 1980 then became Chief Steward in 1981. As the Chief Steward, he was considered to be among the top five officials in the sport of auto racing in the world.

He will be enshrined in the Hall with other Garden State greats from arenas spanning MLB, the NBA, the NFL and Olympic figure skating at a dinner and induction ceremony in September.

“The nominating committee and the Board are very grateful to have such a vast collection of outstanding athletes to choose from,” said Acting Chairman of the New Jersey Sports Hall of Fame Bart Oates. “The depth of athletic talent in the Garden State is staggering, from baseball to auto racing, from football to figure skating, New Jersey athletes have set records, raised the bar, and made their mark in virtually every corner of the world of sports. The wide range of talents displayed by this amazing class of athletes simply underscores New Jersey’s outstanding sports legacy.”

In addition, Dallenbach was responsible for bringing the safety team program to Champ Car– now known as the industry standard for motorsports safety– and established non-denominational church services for the families and teams involved in the series.

Since the first induction ceremony in 1993, the Sports Hall of Fame of New Jersey has enshrined 87 legends and 13 special events. Their plaques are on permanent display in the Continental Airlines Arena at the Meadowlands Sports Complex where millions of people can view them and pay homage. Visit the Hall of Fame’s web site at www.sportshalloffamenj.org., or call (201) 507-8134 for ticket information.

2/20/04

Milwaukee Mile Fairgrounds CEO resigns   According to www.jsonline.com Joe Chrnelich the CEO of the Wisconsin State Fair park has resigned. He was one of the key people to push improving the Milwaukee Mile. This could really throw a wrench in the long term plans of the track.

2/20/04

Verstappen wanted $3 million  According to this F1Racing.nl article, Jos Verstappen was offered $2 million salary in the Trust/Jordan deal but he held out for $3 million and Jordan said no.

2/20/04

Ron Dennis trashes NASCAR  McLaren boss Ron Dennis is no fan of NASCAR, with its lines of growling stock cars rumbling bumper-to-bumper around ovals for hours on end.  "You know one single thing that really, really upsets me?," he said last month when the talk turned to Formula One's commercial future.  "It's every time that I read about NASCAR. It's just amazing. I mean they are just full up. Every race is full up, they've got more income, more television revenue and it's boring as hell.  McLaren chief Ron Dennis doesn't understand why NASCAR is so popular in America.   "That machine is working and yet we've got a much better show," he added.  Sunday's Daytona 500, the 'Great American Race', will have given him more to chew on.  Set aside the stereotypes of beer-swigging, good ol'boys revving their Chevys. NASCAR is what Formula One, despite its mass appeal elsewhere, can only dream of being in America. Just look at the figures:  Some 200,000 fans bursting with brand loyalty packed the Speedway on Sunday......."If something is as successful as that then you are a fool if you don't go and try and understand what the ingredients are," said Dennis, who intends to attend some NASCAR races with McLaren managing director Martin Whitmarsh to see for themselves.  "Maybe we can bring some of them to our team. I think we'll go and be pretty dismissive of the technology but I don't think we'll be dismissive of all the things they do and how they've managed to ramp it into such a success."  Reuters

2/20/04

Sauber and DaimlerChrysler extend agreement  Prior to the expiration of the current partnership agreement, signed in 2002, Sauber Petronas and DaimlerChrysler Switzerland have extended their cooperation by another three years. Under the renewed agreement, Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles will continue to be the Swiss team's official supply partner for Mercedes-Benz Actros trucks until 2007. In return, DaimlerChrysler Switzerland will be receiving various marketing services, including the possibility of using Sauber's new wind tunnel for exclusive events.

Team Principal Peter Sauber commented on the renewal: "Of course, I'm delighted about the extension of this highly successful partnership and, what's more, it's reassuring to know that we'll be able to continue hauling our racing cars and materials to the circuits aboard the exceptionally reliable and safe Mercedes-Benz Actros trucks."

"The excellent reputation of the Sauber Petronas Formula 1 team, marked by the pursuit of perfection and top quality, are important attributes for us, as well, and hence guarantee a fantastic partnership", said Paul Grossenbacher, Director of Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles, DaimlerChrysler Switzerland. "The early renewal of our agreement for another three years will strengthen our collaboration even further, and we're already keeping our fingers crossed for the Hinwil team to have a successful season."

Mercedes-Benz Actros, the top-selling truck in Europe, has been a synonym for quality, comfort and safety for many years. Actros trucks used by Sauber Petronas are equipped with a number of safety features, such as a lane warning system, distance control, anti-roll stability control, airbags, etc. The new Actros received the Truck of the Year 2004 award. Sauber

2/20/04

Latest F1 news in brief  

Sauber Offer To Cool-Down Ferrari
Raikkonen Sets New Lap Record
F1 Rookie Has Work To Do
Coronel To Sign As 'Third' Driver
Teen Thanked For Speeding In Bahrain
Ferrari Cancel New-Car F1 Test

Bahrain Ready For First F1 Race
Raikkonen Needs More Power
Toyota Aim For Podium Finish
Glock Is Jordan's Friday Tester
BAR's In The Ballpark, Says Jenson 

How Many Times Has JPM Been Booked?
F1 Eyes Dubai
Currency Crisis Hits Formula One
Drivers Not Toyota's Problem
McNish Gets New Career Racing 

2/20/04

Scenes from Sauber in Bahrain  


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